UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
WFP RESUMES URGENT FOOD AID DELIVERIES TO WESTERN UGANDA FOLLOWING SECURITY PROBLEMS
17 April 1999, Nairobi
The UN World Food Programme announced today that it has resumed sending relief food convoys to western Uganda where violent rebel attacks have forced thousands of people to flee their homes.
WFP began dispatching food to the area twelve days ago, but had to temporarily halt the operation last week due to an increase in attacks and ambushes on commercial transporters along the main Fort Portal-Bundibugyo road. A convoy of trucks carrying 70 tons of WFP food supplies arrived safely in Bundibugyo town early this week.
Aid agencies estimate that 50,000-70,000 Ugandans living in the western district of Bundibugyo have become displaced from their homes over the past four weeks. Reports from the area indicate that Ugandan rebels crossing over from the Rwenzori mountain area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been violently attacking villages, killing people and burning houses before retreating back to the DRC.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to find transporters willing to risk their lives to carry relief supplies to this area, said Michael Jones, WFP's Deputy Country Director for Uganda. We've been forced to arrange military escorts to accompany our food convoys to ensure that transporters can travel safely and the food reaches those who need it.
WFP is currently sending to the area a total consignment of 200 metric tons of maize, beans, oil and corn-soya blend using four-wheel drive trucks. Two-thirds of the food has now arrived in the area. WFP plans to send the remaining supplies over the next few days. The relief food will be enough to feed 30,000 of the neediest people for one month. WFP staff will then assess the situation to see whether more food is needed in the weeks ahead.
The food will be distributed in Bundibugyo town and twelve other sites within the district. As the numbers of people arriving increase, WFP staff report that indoor shelter is becoming scarce, and some families are having to sleep in the open air, without any protection from the rain and cold weather.
We know from experience that it's critical that people get access to adequate food supplies at these times, said Jones. This will make them more resistant to life-threatening health problems like respiratory infections, diarrhea and malaria, which are prevalent to people living in these circumstances and usually effect the weakest first.
This is not the first time WFP has been called on to assist displaced families living in the Bundibugyo district. Throughout much of 1998, WFP fed an average of 30,000 people in the area each month. These were also families displaced by similar rebel attacks. By September, security had improved enough to allow families to return to their homes. WFP was then able to phase out its food assistance program, until this recent resumption of rebel activity.
WFP has been operational in Uganda for the past 35 years. The agency operates emergency relief programs in the north where its supports 380,000 internally displaced persons and 180,000 refugees mainly from Sudan. The agency also currently provides support to development projects in the areas of education, vocational training, food security and agricultural activities.
The World Food Programme is the United Nations? front-line agency in the fight against global hunger. Last year its relief workers fed 75 million people, including most of the world?s refugees. Headquartered in Rome, Italy, WFP has food aid operations in 80 countries around the world.
For more information, contact:
Michael Jones WFP Deputy Country Director Kampala, Uganda Tel. (256-41) 231112 Mobile: 075 775511
Alzira Ferreira WFP Reports Officer Kampala, Uganda Tel. (256-41) 231112 Mobile: 075 696179
Michele Quintaglie WFP Great Lakes Information Officer Nairobi, Kenya Tel. (254-2) 622336
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 11:06:25 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: UGANDA: WFP press release 
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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