South Sudan Refugees In Uganda Sell Their Clothes To Buy Food

By Kevin Mwanza Published: September 19, 2016, 6:44 am
Food insecurity issues have worsened the already difficult refugee problem in South Sudan UNHCR.ie

South Sudan refugees in Uganda are selling their clothes to raise money to buy food as a food rationing crisis bites due to influx of more refugees into the nation, which has strained World Food Program’s (WFP) food provision.

The high influx of refugees have forced WFP and the Ugandan government to reduce food rations by nearly a half, driving most of the refugees to get means of supplementing the sorghum and beans rations they receive in the camps.

In July, WFP approved a decision to give full food rations only to the elderly, chronically ill, malnourished which are vulnerable cases.

“I never thought I would be selling my clothes, but I did because I have nothing. It was my last option. Now we are waiting to see whether we will survive or die,” Mary Opia, a refugee told CBC News.

Mary sold her dresses for about $2 and two sets of bedsheets for about $6. Most other refugees have even sold their children’s outfits to make money for food that has become scanty due to rationing and the fear of seeing their children suffer from malnutrition.

World Food Program spends $7 million a month to feed the refugees. It needs an additional $$20 million to ensure food rations for the rest of the year.

Canada, European Union, Ireland, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States have so far contributed to the program.

The living conditions for in the camps are deplorable due to overcrowding. In Nyumanzi, north of Uganda Kampala, a transit center meant for 2,000 people is hosting 7,000 refugees, Anadolu Agency reported.

Uganda and Sudan are hosting more than 90 percent of the refugees from South Sudan, with Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia hosting the rest.

Uganda has the highest number of refugees from the oil-rich nation, with 373,626 people. Children and women are the majority, United Nations News Centre reported.

At least 185,000 people have fled since violence erupted in July. South Sudan is the fourth nation in the world with more than one million refugees, after Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR).

Since violence resurged in Africa’s newest state in July, at least one million have fled the nation while about 1.6 are internally displaced.

The fighting pits government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to Riek Machar, the deposed vice-president.

The near-inhuman living conditions of the refugees are a stark contrast to the lavish lives of families and cronies of Kiir, Machar and military generals. They live in five-star hotels and mansions in Mombasa and Nairobi in Kenya and Kampala in Uganda.

The revelations were made in a 65-page report, “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay’ released last week. The damning report was done released by The Sentry, a watchdog group.

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