WFP starts food air drops to displaced in northern Uganda cut off by heavy rains

Published on 16 October 2007

For the first time in Uganda, the United Nations World Food Programme has launched a food airdrop operation as part of a massive effort to reach tens of thousands of displaced people after heavy rains blocked the delivery of relief food by road.

For the first time in Uganda, the United Nations World Food Programme has launched a food airdrop operation as part of a massive effort to reach tens of thousands of displaced people after heavy rains blocked the delivery of relief food by road.

On Saturday, an Antonov-12 cargo aircraft started a month-long operation to drop food from the air to thousands of displaced people.

No other way

By Tuesday, 117 metric tons of cereals, pulses, sugar and highly nutritious corn-soya blend had been delivered from the northern town of Gulu – enough to feed the 10,000 people in

There is simply no other way to get survival rations to isolated people
WFP Uganda Acting Country Director Alix Loriston

two camps for a month.

“Resorting to food airdrops reflects the severity of the heavy rains and floods, which in some parts of Uganda are the worst in 35 years,” said WFP Uganda Acting Country Director Alix Loriston. “There is simply no other way to get survival rations to isolated people.”

Unreachable

Flooding has directly affected 300,000 people in northern and eastern Uganda, while tens of thousands of displaced in the north of the country are still unreachable as floodwaters have severed roads.

WFP is using a combination of airdrops and helicopters to deliver food and non-food items for the humanitarian community.

WFP is also using boats to deliver food and essential supplies. So far, WFP has delivered food by land, water and air to 150,000 people out of the 300,000 hit by the floods in the West.

Cut off

The situation in Uganda is serious as some 250,000 displaced people living in camps in northern Uganda did not receive September rations from WFP when heavy rains made it impossible for trucks to reach them. Other displaced people have not received food since July because torrential rains cut off roads.

WFP urgently needs US$17 million to buy food for flood victims plus US$3.2 million to operate trucks, boats and aircraft on behalf of the entire humanitarian community.

WFP is also undertaking emergency road and bridge repairs. So far, WFP has only received one-fifth of its flood appeal made four weeks ago.

Supply break

Without new contributions, WFP’s supply line for a total of 1.7 million people in Uganda, including flood victims, will break in December.

Projects were already short of funds before the floods, and now stocks of special foods for malnourished children are exhausted. Beans will run out later this month.