World Food Programme says violence halting its deliveries in northern Uganda

World Food Programme says violence halting its deliveries in northern Uganda

Escalating violence in northern Uganda is preventing the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) from delivering food to nearly almost half a million people who depend solely on the agency to eat.

"We have been unable to deliver food to refugee camps without convoys," Khaled Mansour, a WFP spokesman, said. "Even that is only possible on days when authorities believe the area is secure."

Earlier this week, WFP had to use a heavily escorted convoy to ship 45 tons of food to refugees fleeing the Pader district, where rebels with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) killed at least 50 people in an attack. Further deliveries depend on the stability in the region.

In addition, looting has depleted food supplies. Earlier this week, looters stole at least 16 tons of corn and other food from a WFP warehouse in the Acholi-Pii refugee camp, Mr. Mansour told the UN News Service. The warehouse, which contained 180 tons of food, was apparently ransacked by the LRA and some of the refugees being driven from the area, he said.

This is the second time this summer that WFP shipments have been grounded. In June, WFP suspended deliveries to about 490,000 internally displaced people due to ambushes, abductions and looting by LRA rebels. As of July, WFP estimated it would need 24,000 tons of food to feed about 546,000 displaced people in Uganda.