UGANDA – Japan has donated 2,000 metric tons (MT) of rice valued at US$2.2 million to facilitate the provision of essential meals to 50,000 newly arrived refugees in Uganda, during the 2024/2025 period.

The donation was received by Abdirahman Meygag, the World Food Programme (WFP) representative in Uganda. 

Meygag lauded Japan’s timely contribution, emphasising its crucial role in sustaining WFP’s efforts to provide vital food assistance to refugees amidst ongoing conflict.

Uganda currently hosts a staggering 1.5 million refugees, the highest number in any African nation where 130,000 refugees arrived in 2023 alone.

The majority of these refugees are fleeing conflicts in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, and Sudan, often undertaking arduous journeys to reach safety.

Despite Uganda’s progressive refugee policy, which aims to provide sanctuary and support to those in need, refugees grapple with limited livelihood opportunities, necessitating continued reliance on humanitarian aid.

Handing over the donation, the ambassador of Japan to Uganda Fukazawa Hidemoto, expressed the significance of targeting newly arrived refugees, emphasizing the acute vulnerability and challenges they face in the immediate aftermath of fleeing crises.

He said this contribution aligns with Japan’s commitment to extending humanitarian support to Uganda during a period marked by a surge in refugee arrivals and concurrent crises.

On his part, Meygag highlighted the significance of hot meals for newly arrived refugees, symbolising not only sustenance but also the beginning of recovery and hope as they embark on the journey to rebuild their lives.

With WFP currently supporting 1.4 million out of Uganda’s 1.5 million refugees with monthly food and cash assistance, the organization faces a widening gap between humanitarian needs and available funding.

Amidst these challenges, WFP has been compelled to prioritise assistance for the most vulnerable refugees, a decision informed by extensive consultations with refugee communities and key stakeholders.

This prioritization strategy entails varying levels of food assistance, with the most vulnerable households receiving 60 per cent of the regular ration size, while less vulnerable families receive 30 per cent.

In light of the growing humanitarian needs and the imperative of sustained support, WFP in Uganda requires US$134 million to cater to refugee assistance in 2024.

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