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Working with partners to feed refugees in Uganda
August 2, 2022

Dave Reynolds – August 2, 2022

Uganda hosts more than 1.5 million refugees and asylum seekers who fled conflict and instability in neighboring countries. More than 71,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan have arrived since January, suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

The United States is working with the World Food Programme (WFP) to feed refugees in Uganda as part of wide-ranging efforts to tackle a global food crisis spurred by drought, the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict.

On July 15, the United States announced more than $592 million in humanitarian assistance for Africa, including $21 million in emergency food aid to the WFP for Uganda.

“Needs are growing and @WFP are reaching more than 217,000 people with food and nutrition supplements in the coming weeks,” said Abdirahman Meygag, WFP’s country director in Uganda, in a July 25 tweet. He thanked the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as the European Union and Japan, for supporting the effort.

Another WFP tweet shows dozens of 50-kilogram bags of maize headed for Uganda’s Karamoja region, where over 500,000 people are hungry, and more than half of all children are severely malnourished.

The U.S. funding will allow WFP to:

  • Procure 1,508 metric tons of food, including cereals and vegetable oil, for an estimated 83,845 people.
  • Continue to feed 1.4 million refugees in 13 settlements.
  • Provide hot meals for thousands more refugees and asylum seekers expected to arrive in Uganda in 2022.

Recently announced U.S. funding also will support humanitarian responses to crises in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and elsewhere, allowing partners to assist more than 7 million refugees in Africa and over 25 million internally displaced people.

In June, during the Uniting for Global Food Security conference in Berlin, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged countries to step up efforts to protect world food security.

An estimated 193 million people faced acute food insecurity in 2021, according to the United Nations. Following Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, another 40 million people globally could be pushed into severe food insecurity and poverty, the World Bank says.

Russia has destroyed Ukrainian farms, stolen grain and prevented shipping through the Black Sea, cutting off one of the world’s major producers of wheat and corn and the world’s leading exporter of sunflower seed oil.

Men moving bags of food (© James Akena/Reuters)
Refugees from South Sudan unload food from World Food Programme trucks in Palorinya settlement camp for distribution in Uganda’s Moyo district in October 2017. (© James Akena/Reuters)

Refugees and asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable to the food insecurity hitting Africa, especially in countries that rely heavily on Russian or Ukrainian imports, according to the U.S. Department of State.   

“The United States is committed to contributing to ending hunger and malnutrition and building more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems around the world,” U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Natalie Brown said recently.