17 April 2007 The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today that a shortage of contributions has forced it to cut food rations for 1.28 million people driven into camps from their homes during a 20-year rebellion by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
“WFP strongly appreciates the swift response to our March appeal from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the United States, Canada and Norway, but unless there are additional contributions from other donors the problem for 1.28 million displaced and 182,000 refugees will persist,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.
The agency gives internally displaced persons (IDPs) partial rations because they can grow some food on land near the camps to supplement what WFP gives them. In April, WFP was forced to reduce the individual food aid package for the displaced to just 40 per cent of the minimum daily energy requirement of 1,200 kilocalories because of a shortage of contributions.
In addition, WFP cut already partial rations to 182,000 mainly Sudanese refugees by 50 per cent.
The WFP chief said new contributions are expected to “ease the pressure in June.” But the agency will maintain the 40 per cent ration for the 1.28 million displaced in northern Uganda and reduced rations for refugees until its food supply is normalized.
WFP has so far received $62 million of the $131 million it asked donors and the Government to provide for relief and recovery in 2007.
Since the LRA rebellion began in 1986, the rebel group has become notorious for abducting children and then using them as soldiers or porters, while subjecting some to torture and allocating many girls to senior officers in a form of institutional rape.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) in October, 2005 issued its first-ever arrest warrants against Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, and four of the group’s commanders – Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen and Raska Lukwiya – on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.