- The United Nations food agency said hundred of thousands of Ugandan flood victims are at the brink of facing food disaster. The World Food Programme (WFP) has asked for an immediate response to its appeal for assistance to bail out the Ugandan victims.
“The situation is dire for hundreds of thousands of people who have losttheir homes, their belongings and most of their crops,” said WFP Executive Josette Sheeran. “It can take just days for the effects of acute malnutrition to claim the life of a child.”
Some 300,000 poor farmers in 16 districts in eastern and northern Uganda and the drought-prone Karamoja region have been badly affected by massive flooding. Many families have lose 90% of their crops. Besides, the continued flooding delayed the normal planting, signifying no harvest in the regions until February.
The UN food agency needs over US 21$million to buy food for flood victims, provide trucks, boats, aircraft and emergency road and bridge repairs on behalf of the humanitarian community. The body has so far received one-fifth of the amount in its flood appeal three weeks ago.
WFP has assisted thousands of hungry people, airlifted food and other assistance by helicopter on behalf of other agencies to marooned communities.
“We are quickly running out of food, and before long, thousands of flood-hit families will have nothing else to eat,” said Sheeran, adding that WFP has been forced to bridge the food gap by drawing heavily from food stocks destined for thousands of internally displaced people and refugees.
Without new contributions, WFP warned that its food assistance supply line for a total of 1.7 million people in Uganda will break in December because projects were already short of funds prior to the floods, and now stocks of special foods for malnourished children have been exhausted. Beans will run out later this month, WFP warned.
In total, WFP needs US$60 million to feed 1.7 million people until March 2008 – including US$17 million of the US$21 million appeal to feed 300,000 flood victims, and US$39 million for 1.4 million displaced, returnees, and refugees fleeing from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
WFP also needs US$3.2 million in cash, mainly for air support but also to repair roads and bridges. Swedish engineers sent to assist WFP have now assessed roads and bridges in Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts severed by flooding thus making it extremely impossible to access northern Uganda‘s 30 refugee camps.
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