Uganda Gets Multi-Million Dollar Food Aid Programme

Report
from Pan African News Agency
Published on 23 Mar 2000
DAKAR, Senegal (PANA) - The World Food Programme Thursday announced that it will spend 50 million US dollars over the next two years to ensure continuous food aid for hundreds of thousands of people in northern Uganda, who are living in precarious circumstances.
The move comes at a time violent attacks by rebel groups operating in the northern part of the country continue unabated, forcing tens of thousands of Ugandans out of their homes.

Many have sought shelter and protection in makeshift camps near urban centres.

Alarmingly, rebel groups have also targeted some of these camps over the past few weeks, making the situation even more desperate.

"We're doing everything possible to ensure that food aid continues to reach these people whose lives have been devastated by senseless violence," the agency's regional manager for the Great Lakes region, Burk Oberle, said in a news release.

"Attacks, ambushes and constant threats against aid workers in this region make this a difficult operation, requiring us to co-ordinate all our movements ahead of time and deliver food under military escort. But it's critical that these people continue to receive our help," he noted.

Rebel attack on Padibe camp, hosting 30,000 internally displaced persons, left 12 people killed, 40 others wounded and 400 homes burned to ashes earlier this week.

Pabo and Amuru camps in Gulu district, which together host some 65,000 displaced people, have been attacked five times over the past six weeks.

The agency's staff have reported that over 20 people were killed in the attacks, several women and children abducted, food stores burned, and countless homes destroyed by rebel militias.

The violence is believed to have been carried out by the Lord's Resistance Army, a fundamentalist rebel group that has been operating in the region for the past 13 years.

WFP is currently feeding over 550,000 internally displaced persons in Uganda, nearly 80 percent of whom are living in the north of the country.

The remainder are based in the south-western district of Bundibudgyo, where over the past year, another rebel group, the Allied Democratic Defence Forces, has repeatedly attacked and looted villages, forcing over 100,000 people to flee their homes and farms.

The agency also provides food to 153,000 Sudanese refugees living in the northern West Nile region.

WFP said, over the next two years, it will go beyond just providing emergency assistance and focus on setting up food for-work and training programmes.

It is expected that the new projects will provide the displaced and communities vulnerable to food shortages with skills and opportunities to enhance their agricultural production and economic development.

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