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UN To Feed 600,000 Drought-Stricken Ugandans

UN Launches Six-Month Operation To Feed 600,000 Drought-Stricken Ugandans

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a six-month food relief operation for nearly 600,000 Ugandans suffering from drought in the northeastern region of Karamoja, an area that has been hit by drought every five years since 1980.

“Karamoja already suffers from the highest levels of malnutrition in Uganda and given the poor 2004 harvest, we are greatly concerned about the fate of the hundreds of thousands of people there who risk running out of food before the next harvest in September,” WFP Country Director Ken Noah Davies said in a news release today.

In an effort to avert hunger and malnutrition, especially among children under five, schoolchildren, the elderly and pregnant and lactating women, WFP has begun distributing food in several and to date has already provided a two-month ration of maize and beans to over 123,000 people.

According to a joint WFP, Ministry of Health and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) nutrition survey last August the region’s average malnutrition rate of 18.7 per cent and mortality rate of 3.9 deaths per 10,000 people each day are well above those in other regions of the country, including camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The $6.8 million programme is part of WFP Uganda’s countrywide relief and recovery operation, valued at $263 million over three years. Currently, the agency requires an additional $54 million to maintain its full activities from May until December 2005.

More than 1.6 million people in northern Uganda, uprooted by the long-running civil conflict with the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), continue to receive WFP support through its 2005 relief and recovery operation.

WFP Uganda plans to provide food assistance to a total of over 3 million people, including IDPs, refugees, schoolchildren, HIV/AIDS and TB infected and affected families, street children and orphans, malnourished children and mothers, and people involved in building community assets in post conflict areas.

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