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US Mission gives Uganda $40million for refugees

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi was in Uganda recently and met South Sudanese refugees at Pagirinya refugee settlement in Adjumani, Uganda.  The US has boosted efforts to feed the refugees. UNHCR PHOTO

The US Mission in Kampala has tripled US food aid contributions to Uganda in 2016 by announcing a new $40 million emergency humanitarian package.

Through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and Office of Food for Peace (FFP), the aid provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide more than 44,000 metric tons of food assistance to those fleeing increased conflict and the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan.

“This support highlights the U.S. Government’s commitment to addressing the humanitarian food and nutrition needs among refugees in Uganda,” said US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah R. Malac, adding, “It will also benefit Ugandan farmers, as part of this contribution will be used to purchase food from local markets.”

Since July 1, 2016, more than 399,000 refugees and asylum seekers – more than 80% of them women and children – have arrived in Uganda. This influx, mostly from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi, has made Uganda Africa’s largest refugee-hosting country with more than 865,385 refugees. This increase in refugee flows has placed a significant burden on relief agencies and Ugandan authorities managing reception centers and existing refugee settlements.

According to a statement from the US Mission, with this latest contribution, USAID in 2016 has provided more than $86 million in humanitarian assistance in Uganda. Such funding helps assist refugees in Uganda as well as extremely vulnerable populations in Karamoja.

This humanitarian aid complements the five-year, $150 million US Government Feed the Future Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. The program aims to accelerate inclusive agriculture sector growth through improved agricultural productivity, to expand markets and trade, and to increase economic resilience in vulnerable rural communities throughout Uganda. The initiative also seeks to improve Ugandans’ nutritional status by increasing access to and consumption of diverse and quality foods as well as by strengthening

Roughly two-thirds of the refugees in Uganda depend on contributions from the United States and others through WFP to meet their basic food needs. The U.S. contribution will help assist WFP’s protracted relief and recovery operations in affected areas.

The Ambassador also commended the Government of Uganda’s efforts to manage the refugee situation, noting, “Ugandan authorities have established a model system for welcoming and providing for refugees. But given the rise in refugee arrivals, we encourage international donors to provide more humanitarian support to ensure these most vulnerable populations receive much-needed food and nutrition assistance.”

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