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By Godfrey Olukya    12-8-2013

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Uganda today welcomed a contribution of nearly US$2.6 million (€2 million) from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) to support newly-arrived refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This latest contribution from the European Commission will help WFP assist Congolese refugees who have arrived in Uganda since January 2012, including more than 18,000 people currently sheltering at Bubukwanga Transit Centre in Bundibugyo district.

“ECHO’s generosity will enable WFP to feed an estimated 50,000 people for about three months,” said WFP’s acting Representative in Uganda, Michael Dunford.

“It’s come at just the right time for us, as the flow of refugees over the border is stretching our ability to provide adequate nutrition to the newcomers who are often in desperate need,” Dunford added.

“Europeans stand in solidarity with the Congolese who have been uprooted from their homes due to ongoing violence in their country,” said Roberto Ridolfi, head of the European Union Delegation in Uganda.

Ridolfi said the ECHO funding would be used to help the most vulnerable families who have fled their homes with few possessions and are in need of life-saving food assistance.

WFP provides food that is cooked for the refugees while they are at the transit centres, and then provides monthly family rations when they are relocated into settlements.

WFP currently assists more than 180,000 refugees through three transit centres and eight settlements in southwest and northwest Uganda. Most of these people arrived from the DRC in the last five years, but the country also hosts refugees from South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia.

Refugees who have been in Uganda for several years may have established alternative sources of income, including small trade, casual labour and cultivation of land allocated to them by the Government of Uganda. However, new arrivals usually require WFP’s full support for up to three years, during which they may be unable to supplement the assistance they receive from WFP, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other partners.

 WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.


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