While food security across northern Uganda is a concern, the refugee settlements will be hit harder. Refugees receive meager monthly food rations, and the UN has announced that it will cut these food rations by 30% going forward in order to send more dollars to their COVID–19 response.
Thankfully, there was a big food distribution right before the restrictions went into place that will support the refugees through the end of the month of April. With this next distribution rationed at 30% less, conditions are expected to worsen. Refugees are not starving yet, but the longer this goes on, it will be a grave concern. As far as our team can tell, getting more food to the settlements is the UN’s top priority right now.
The UN works through the World Food Program (WFP) and all efforts are coordinated throughthis organization via financial or food donations to the WFP.
Note: Refugees are resilient, resourceful, and creative. They often leverage these food rations not only for consumption but also for livelihood/income-generating activities. Many refugees sell or trade portions of their food rations to access a more balanced diet. A 30% decrease impacts both their livelihood and food security.
Bans on Social Gathering
The restriction of placing bans on social gatherings poses a threat of greater magnitude to the refugees as their very living situation is just that. As Country Director, James Lomude, expresses, “When you hear that social gathering are banned, and when you see the situations of refugees, first of all the settlement, the nature of the settlement itself, is already a social gathering… by the nature of their settlements they are already vulnerable.”