UN agency airdrops emergency food relief into flood-ravaged Uganda

UN agency airdrops emergency food relief into flood-ravaged Uganda

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered by airdrop enough food for 33,000 people in northern Uganda who have had to leave their homes because of widespread flooding – the first time airdrop food assistance has been used in the Central African country.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered by airdrop enough food for 33,000 people in northern Uganda who have had to leave their homes because of widespread flooding – the first time airdrop food assistance has been used in the Central African country.

WFP spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume told reporters today in Geneva that the agency, which started the relief programme two weeks ago, will continue to deliver emergency food supplies by airdrop for another three weeks.

It is also delivering food supplies by truck, boat and helicopter to an estimated 183,000 people, particularly in western Uganda, which has also been inundated.

In total, more than 480,000 Ugandans have been displaced by the flooding, which were the worst in decades in some areas of the country. Crop planting has been badly hit, and harvests are unlikely before February at the earliest.

The latest update from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicates that dry weather for much of the past two weeks has led to improved road conditions, although some bridges remain open only to lightweight vehicles.

All but eight of 110 schools which had been unable to open for the third term have now re-opened, but school sanitation facilities are still struggling to cope, with many latrines waterlogged.

OCHA said it has also been able to reduce the incidence of malaria in those districts where insecticide-treated nets have been widely distributed.

But Ms. Berthiaume warned that, since 15 October, WFP has not received any contributions to its appeal for $26 million to help in the relief effort. So far the agency has received just over a fifth of the target amount, forcing it to dig into its stocks used normally to support refugees and those displaced by the ongoing armed conflict in northern Uganda.