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15 April 2020 - News

Refugee food ration cuts come at worst possible time

A refugee family in western Uganda prepare their daily food. Esther Mbabazi / Save the Children

Above: A refugee family in Kyaka II settlement in western Uganda shares out their daily food ration

The World Food Programme has announced that it is cutting food rations to refugees in Uganda by 30 percent, due to a lack a funding. The announcement comes as COVID-19 prevention measures tighten, leaving families struggling to survive.  

In response to the announcement, Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s Country Director in Uganda, said:

“The food ration cuts, which are caused by lack of funding, come at the worst possible time, as hundreds of thousands of refugee children are already being pushed further into extreme poverty and hunger by COVID-19.

These latest cuts will put children’s lives at risk and will inevitably mean that more children face abuse and exploitation.

Restrictions on movement and economic activity, which have been put in place to try and stop the spread of the virus, mean that families are extremely reliant on these food rations for basic survival. Even before these cuts malnutrition rates have been rising towards emergency levels in some refugee communities.

Without enough food and with schools all closed, we are worried we are going to see a big increase in children pushed into hazardous work or forced into child marriage to try and make ends meet.

Uganda hosts more than 1.4 million refugees, the third most in the world, but the international community has not given the support it needs. The 2019 refugee response plan received only around half of the funding it required, and now further cuts are being made at a time when children are more vulnerable and in need of support than ever. We urge international donors to ensure that essential services can keep going.”

Read more about Save the Children's lifesaving emergency feeding programme for refugees in northern Uganda