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Refugees strike over lack of food

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By Robert Ariaka

South Sudanese refugees in Bidibidi settlement camp staged a violent strike over lack of food destroying vehicles and looting properties.

The violent strike that occurred on Friday silently started cropping up on Monday when a section of refugees missed food.

World Food programmre policy changed merging the existing food distribution points and creating long distance for the refugees to access food.

The refugees protest comes as a result of walking long distances to collect food besides those who missed.

70% of the refugees were given food while 30% missed causing the strike.

Richard Andama the RDC Yumbe said, the new policy of World Food programme is not favouring the refugees.

He said even when they guided the food distributors not to immediately implement the new policy; they refused causing the mess that resulted into violence.

Some refugees have to walk 6km to access food from distribution points.

The refugees broke the gate of World Food Programme main store in Bidibidi base camp and looted food, destroyed documents and other properties, went away with office equipment like laptops.

They beat up staff of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme and destroyed 10 acres including that of the Resident District Commissioner, Richard Andama.

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Added 23rd December 2018 12:24 PM

70% of the refugees were given food while 30% missed causing the strike.

Anelderlywomanseatsnexttoherfoodasshewaitstocarryithomephotobyrobertariaka 703x422 An elderly woman seats next to her food as she waits to-carry it home. ( Photo by Robert Ariaka)

PROTEST

South Sudanese refugees in Bidibidi settlement camp staged a violent strike over lack of food destroying vehicles and looting properties.

The violent strike that occurred on Friday silently started cropping up on Monday when a section of refugees missed food.

World Food programmre policy changed merging the existing food distribution points and creating long distance for the refugees to access food.

efugee women get food from idibidi settlement hoto by obert riaka Refugee women get food from Bidibidi settlement. ( Photo by Robert Ariaka)

The refugees protest comes as a result of walking long distances to collect food besides those who missed.

70% of the refugees were given food while 30% missed causing the strike.

Richard Andama the RDC Yumbe said, the new policy of World Food programme is not favouring the refugees.

He said even when they guided the food distributors not to immediately implement the new policy; they refused causing the mess that resulted into violence.

Some refugees have to walk 6km to access food from distribution points.

The refugees broke the gate of World Food Programme main store in Bidibidi base camp and looted food, destroyed documents and other properties, went away with office equipment like laptops.

They beat up staff of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme and destroyed 10 acres including that of the Resident District Commissioner, Richard Andama.

Andama and officials of Office of the Prime Minister tried to calm down the angry residents but the delayed distribution of food to the 30% who missed sparked off the violent strike on Friday.

An undisclosed number of UNHCR and World Food Programme staff were injured and rushed to hospitals for treatment.

Andama said he made a pronouncement that food must be distributed to those who missed but officials of World Food Programme paid a deaf ear causing more trouble. It is now more than three days that 30%t of refugees missed food in Bidibidi settlement.

Police reinforcement from the districts of Arua, Koboko, Adjumani, and Maracha were taken to contain the situation.

A state of emergency has been declared for a quick response to distribute food to the refugees. Bidibidi is the largest refugee settlement in East Africa and second largest in Africa.

Solomon Osakan, the refugee desk officer, Arua who oversees Bidibidi settlement said the situation is bad but could not avail more details as he was out of the duty station.