Save the Children Statement: Food Ration Cuts by WFP in Uganda Come at Worst Possible Time

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 15, 2020)—In response to the announcement by the World Food Program of 30 percent relief reduction to refugee programs in Uganda, 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.”

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