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Archive for the category “Aid”

Opinion: NRM, It is hard to see Middle-Income Status coming quickly!

He explained that the NRM manifesto is anchored in Vision 2040 and the second National Development Plan. It commits to deliver Ugandans into middle income status and to ensure sustainable development” (Mubiru, 2018).

Well, it is that time of the year. To prove the National Resistance Movement (NRM), that their empty promises. Because when you collect the news together. It is easy to see how things doesn’t add up. If the NRM was on their way to sustainable development, like Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda talked about earlier last week. Then all of the news coming wouldn’t fit. The narrative cannot be growth and development, when all of these issues are happening at the same time. It doesn’t fit. The glove has to fit the hand. The three things that doesn’t add up is the missing funds for the Presidents own Village Poverty Program, relief food for Karamoja and also a missing sugar factory.

Village Poverty Program:

State House has said it needs at least Shs 5bn to roll out the model village poverty alleviation initiative by President Yoweri Museveni. In the request contained in the Ministry of Presidency’s policy statement and budget estimates for 2018/2019, State House said the existing Shs 1bn budget for the project is too little and therefore a 500 percent increase is vital. The current Shs 1bn has only managed to establish small scale commercial agricultural farms in 21 model villages. The country, according to Electoral Commission of 2016 data, has 59,700 villages” (Okello, 2018).

Donate relief food:

The government of China has donated food aid worth $5 million (about Shs 18bn) to the World Food Programme (WFP) to support a feeding programme for vulnerable groups threatened by malnutrition in the Karamoja sub-region. More than 2000,000 people mostly school going children, infants and mothers are threatened by malnutrition in Karamoja according to official figures” (Lyatuu, 2018).

No existent Sugar Factory:

It is five years, since Atiak Sugar Factory under Haryal investment Holdings Limited was rolled out in Amuru District, to commence sugar production, but has since stalled, leaving a number of sugar cane farmers stranded. “The people shifted from food crops with hope to earn from sugar cane. Out growers are now worried that the factory will not take off in time to fully untilise the 4,000 acres planted,” reads part of their petition. Kilak North MP, Anthonu Akol who read out the petition to the Speaker said that the farmers are stuck with no factory to sell their sugarcane and questioning why the minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, sold to them hot air” (Kyeyune, 2018).

All of these issues shouldn’t be at this state, if the state was seriously developing and on the way to Middle-Income status. There are so many issues that is missing, not only the ghosts and the added debt ratio in the budgets. This is all minor measures in the bigger picture, but it proves the lack of governance and accountability, when the state can grab land in Amuru district, but never deliver the promised the factory. As this been going on for years.

That the middle income cannot be fulfilled when the village poverty is so prevalent, that the scale is not fitting the needs. You know that the state lacks resources and well-funded plans to even achieve this. The President should have made sure and ensured the progress and at the planning stages, it this is his program, to be sure about the right amount and needed facilitation to deliver to the needed villages. That is apparently a mixed bag wooh-ha and nonsense.

Last but not least, is the donating of food to Karamoja, which in it self a sign of lack of progress. When your not able to meet the needs of your population and have good enough agricultural policies and output to feed yourself and your own kind. You know that the Middle Income Status is far-fetched, when this is still an issue. You know there are miles afar from the promise land. That the NRM and the President is clearly not delivering. There is no excuse in the book, that can fix the grandest issues of not being able to feed all communities and districts of Uganda. You know they are far from Middle Income, when China has to donate food to you….

Enough of the nonsense. Peace.

Reference:

Kyeyune, Moses – ‘Acholi sugarcane growers seek Parliament help over stalled factory’ (16.05.2018) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Acholi-sugarcane-growers-seek-Parliament-help-stalled-factory/688334-4565238-ueostj/index.html

Lyatuu, Justus – ‘China donates relief food to Karamoja’ (19.05.2018) link: http://observer.ug/news/headlines/57707-china-donates-relief-food-to-karamoja.html

Mubiru, Apollo – ‘NRM Manifesto: The road to modernity’ (18.05.2018) link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1477948/road-modernity

Okello, Dickens H. – ‘Shs5Bn Needed for Museveni’s Village Poverty Alleviation Program’ (21.05.2018) link: http://chimpreports.com/shs5bn-needed-for-musevenis-village-poverty-alleviation-program/

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UNHCR suspends resettlement programme from Sudan as fraud probe gathers steam (17.05.2018)

KHARTOUM, Sudan – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is temporarily suspending its refugee resettlement programme from Sudan in connection with two ongoing investigations launched in February and March by the organization’s independent Inspector General’s Office.

A separate anti-fraud and integrity support mission is expected to deploy shortly.

“At present we are still dealing with allegations, based on reports that have come from refugees. Nonetheless these are worrying and the integrity of the Sudan resettlement programme has to be assured beyond any doubt,” said UNHCR Representative for Sudan Noriko Yoshida. “Should wrongdoing be confirmed, those responsible can expect the consequences to be severe.”

Resettlement is one of the three main solutions for refugees and applies to vulnerable people for whom there is no possibility of either voluntary return or local integration. As such, it is a vital lifeline.

UNHCR encourages anyone with information about suspected fraud or other wrongdoing to contact its Inspector General’s Office without delay on http://www.unhcr.org/inspector-generals-office.html. UNHCR never charges fees to help refugees or others under its duty of care.

Somalia Security High Level Meeting – Joint Declaration by the Co-Chairs, Brussels, 2 May 2018

The sorry state of the nation of WaBenzi!

You are now entering into an alternative universe, where we have a nation called WaBenzi. Where the elites was eating of the state reserves, where the elite was there because of their connections with the political elite. A political elite made by patronage and nepotism. This political elite was made out a liberation battle done decades ago, either from a foreign force or from some dictator, whose legacy was murder of ethnic groups or even expelling others. The leader on top would be seen as a hero back in the day, but with lingering time, the party (the Movement) and the President would tarnish his own reputation for lingering on.

While that is happening, the written word is losing meaning in WaBenzi. Because the political are afraid of challenging the President and his party. They might have some newspapers, but their circulation isn’t on the basis for anyone outside many urban townships of the nation. Neither is the social media sites. The intelligence that has been leaked, has made the elite to shut-down, arrest and revoke the licenses of these media houses. Therefore, the media is careful and awaiting approval from the elite before publishing. They are careful with how they address the President and his movement. Because they don’t want to question his rule. At least not too much, because they don’t want to suffer. They got families to feed. Even if there is an inflation, even if the economy is in shambles. Even if the rising debt and lack of foreign exchange is hurting the economy.

The patronage is destroying the state, the lack of institutions that is meaningful is shown from anything from SIM-CARDs, or even as foolish as monitoring porn. The boards are busy bodies, while the state is eating the funds for the top-class. The state owned enterprises are giving away tenders to developers without any oversight of the contractors or their delivery. If this get public scrutiny, the President will offer them a new chance after a short suspension. Because someone he knows are eating of this plate.

In WaBenzi, the elite can get away with murders, they can get away with thefts and even land grabbing. As long as the State House is informed, it doesn’t matter if the house is a colonial masterpiece or a grand-farm. Everything can be taken, even evict whole villages for foreign investors, for factories which is promised on the land. The state can take away land for roads and for rail projects, even if the building is only on planning stage and not even the tenders of building it is open to the public. Therefore, if a garden estate for one of the elites is built there instead, it doesn’t matter. The elite of the Movement can do whatever they want.

The people of WaBenzi is so used, they are used that the President can what he wants and say whatever he wants. He can contradict himself, he does that weekly and yearly. If you followed the President. You know he talks against corruption, but let his ministers who is caught in international fraud walk around like nothing happen. The WaBenzi is so used to lied to, that their ignorance and lack of care is natural. They are tired and praying for the ending of the President. Because the President doesn’t plan to leave.

The WaBenzi are used to that the government talk about fair share of resources and development projects, even if the elite in West is getting more, than the Central, Eastern or Northern Regions. The Western has the best schools, the most Cabinet Members and the best infrastructure. The networks of hospitals and other needed government structures are there, but not in the others in that extent. The schools are decapitated, the police stations are unworthy shacks and the government offices for higher officers are looking like mansions for high-end business-men. The mayors and councilors are well-fed, the police-officers are beating on the public to get fed, the school-teachers are having side-jobs or even farming on the side. The civil servants are asking for kick-backs and fill their plate to do their civic duty, because the salary hasn’t risen in decades. If paid on time, it still would barely be enough for the rent of their home.

The hospital are lacking basics, politician of opposition parties are trying now and then to help out. They use their salaries to buy sheets, beds and even medicine. As the national medicine importer and delivery system is understaffed, lack preparation and even the tools to have enough medicine for all institutions. The lack of funding and governance is hurting the hospitals. As they cannot afford to pay their bills, as black-outs and lack of oxygen are common place.

The Electric company is run by private contractors and also private investments from abroad. The development of the energy companies and the plants are all based on either multi-national funding or possible foreign investments. These are done in random, while the different part of the sector is underfunded and also because of the issues from within, is overpriced, hard to get good rates on the electricity and also often blackouts. This hurts the industries, the public, who has to have generators and cannot trust the government run company to deliver enough and stable enough electricity.

The WaBenzi is hurt by the Western, little Elite whose eating of everyone’s plate. They are grabbing it all, while all part of society is hurting. They are not even caring about the Parliament, where the laws are rubber-stamped and secured in favor of the will of the President. The legislation is to favor his agenda and not the good-will of the people. The Elite is more busy securing tenders and their own future, than securing the better institution and society for the public.

The WaBenzi has strict laws on political gatherings, the laws are to secure that no-one will ever have the power or possibly can topple the President. No one should be able to create a protest or demonstrations that could take him down. He has the army and the police on his side. They are keeping people at bay, even invade the Parliament to get his will served. The Courts are listening to him and the orders are happening to his service. Opposition leaders can easily find themselves behind bars, the ones who voices against the Movement will easily get into trouble. That is the state of WaBenzi. Where the thieves and murders walk free and the opposition is the real criminals. Therefore, the trust in the Police and Security Organizations are not there. Because they are misusing their powers to arrest innocent people, activists and youths who are standing up against the President. He cannot manage that.

The government is usually fixing issues that doesn’t matter that much and making sure to make a stamp. Has some sort of campaigns, and making taxes on ordinary stuff, but not making sure the taxation is used properly. That is because the existence of the regime is because they feed the elite. The WaBenzi elite needs the President and the President needs the elite. The chronic patronage and nepotism combined with grand corruption is like daily. The Executives, the funds misused and the mismatch behind the use on programs and what is left to the public is staggering. The President claps his hands and gladly take his percentage of it too.

This is just a story about WaBenzi, how a country became a hostage of an elite that lives on the goodwill of the President. They are there and don’t want change, because they eat. Even if the people starve, even if they cheat on levels of poverty, even if the elite cheats on the amount of people living there and how many projects they have for development. The aid is still coming, the United Nations will still show up and pay for the supper of the poorest of the poor.

While this continues, the liberator who promised to never rig elections. The President has appointed and made sure the Commission who controls the elections are in his favor. The Election Laws are always amended and changed just before. So that the so-called opposition has another disadvantage. Not only that the state is busy giving away gifts to the public during rallies, even busing them to the stages if they have too. Paying off the popular musicians to perform and also pay-off journalists to write favorable coverage. The President is also busy paying the clan-leaders, the religious leadership and even some appointed leadership in the districts. They are getting cars and houses, as a token of their good work and making sure the President is elected again.

The President is also busy using the army and police to harass the opposition in the run-up to the election. Even make them illegal to make a point. The ministers and the Security Organization will defend it as constitutional and say the opposition are making war, not only campaigning. The President will use vile language and say people are fools if they trust anyone else. The Police will bar people, will be more into politics during campaigns, than actually doing police work. The Police will defend their monitoring and the micro-managing of the people. This is all to install fear and secure the President, that people will not really challenge the Presidency.

So after months of campaigning, the elections usually ends with days of tensions. While the Commissions are cooking the numbers, the ballots and the paper-trail, the police is busy chasing the opposition and the civil society. Offices are raided, the media are under attack, the internet is blocked and the observers are watching idly by, while silently saying the process has to move-on and electoral laws can be changed later. It is still progress for society. That WaBenzi had an election, even if it was rigged and the President took total control. He left nothing to coincidence. The public of WaBenzi was props to buy legitimacy for the Presidency, the Commission was another tool and the international observers was there. Just to secure the display of elections was shown. That people could que and wait in line before being registered to vote. Even if there was pre-ticked ballots. Even if the police officers was working and making sure the district got the right result. As the Police arrested people entering or even being party officials registered to be looking over the tally and getting copies from the return officers at the Polling Stations. That doesn’t matter. Because the result has to be in favor of the incumbent President in WaBenzi.

That is just WaBenzi, we are all happy that this what WaBenzi has to offer. This is what the WaBenzi gives of governance, of institutions and of lacking taxation without representation. We are all looking idly by, why the WaBenzi is taken for granted. The President knows this and lives on, happy and ready.

If you demonstrate or try to strike, he will catch and make a treacherous human being, because no one has the power to question the power of the army and the liberation. Even if the liberator only liberated himself and his cronies. The rest has to be hostages in the President’s will and President’s vision. That is the decision of the President, who can get away with anything and no-one cares. Therefore, the nation of WaBenzi is misused and the people are too. Every single day. Peace

EU stands ready to accelerate support to Zimbabwe during its transition process (09.04.2018)

RDC: UAE will not participate in the coming donor conferance, if the RDC gov. doesn’t support it (06.04.2018)

Opinion: Have Kagame put a spell on the West?

You can wonder if the sins of old haunts the West, if the support and the strategies that worked back-in-the-day is now a lost tale. The hope for change and for a different outcome is gone. President Paul Kagame will run indefinitely and never step down. I don’t know if the West feel in debt for the crisis it didn’t prevent and didn’t manage properly in 1994. Where Kagame together with the rebel-militia supported by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni entered Rwanda. They had already been apart of the National Resistance Army (NRA) and the new government under National Resistance Movement (NRM). Kagame has done the same with the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and made it into a party with the Rwandan Partriotic Front (RPF). Just after the model in Uganda.

Therefore, what you see in Rwanda is similar to what you have seen in Uganda. However, there are difference, that is why the chilling relationship between the neighbors. Kagame has worked closely with Uganda, they have sent armies together in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they have worked together to support the M-23 there too. They have been weapon brothers and brothers in arms. Still, the West let them both go. It is weird, but that is where we are. Both Museveni and Kagame can do whatever and get away it.

Kagame is either detaining or killing his enemies. He is doing it just like the Russian do. Rwandans has been poisoned in the United Kingdom, strange fatal accidents in South Africa, even in exile there are dangers if you have crossed Kagame. No-one is hidden from him and if they did him bad or even questioned him. He will find you and make sure you pay. Everyone can be touched and everyone can be taken.

Kagame has total control, nothing that he doesn’t have a stake in, there are clear that the state is part of all society. If there a dissidents or people questioning him, even if they are challenging him in public. They will be tarnished and detained, their family enterprises will be seized. There is no mercy and he never shows that to anyone.

That is maybe why the Western media, NGOs and States in general are walking on needles, they need the minerals he is thieving from the Kivu provinces and therefore, let him off the hook for the support of militias within the DRC. Let him of the hook for the human rights violations, for the killings of opposition and for the totalitarian activities. Where no one but his will matters. Kagame is the king and the sun first shines on him.

We should be worried, because he doesn’t lack use of violence and harassment, he hurts and kills. He might be successful to a certain extent, but we should be worried about the efforts and his involvement across the border. There are even claims of his use of spies and such in Burundi. Clearly, that could be the truth, since he has used all sort of manipulation and militias to get funding from abroad. Therefore, it is weird he is a donor friendly person, but also someone who has no issues with silencing his enemies. That should be worrying and that should cut him off the gravy-train, also sanction the companies that are importing his conflict minerals. Peace.

Nearly two-thirds of the population in South Sudan at risk of rising hunger (26.02.2018)

Sustained assistance and access critical to prevent hunger reaching its highest level ever.

JUBA, South Sudan, February 26, 2018 -More than 7 million people in South Sudan – almost two-thirds of the population – could become severely food insecure in the coming months without sustained humanitarian assistance and access, three United Nations agencies warned today.

If this happens, this will be the highest ever number of food insecure people in South Sudan. The period of greatest risk will be the lean season, between May and July. Particularly at risk are 155,000 people, including 29,000 children, who could suffer from the most extreme levels of hunger.

In January, 5.3 million people, or nearly half of the population, were already struggling to find enough food each day and were in “crisis” or “emergency” levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4), according to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released today.

This represents a 40 percent increase in the number of severely food insecure people compared to January 2017.

The report comes one year after famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February 2017.

Improved access and a massive humanitarian response succeeded in containing and averting famine later last year. Despite this, the food insecurity outlook has never been so dire as it is now.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warn that progress made to prevent people from dying of hunger could be undone, and more people than ever could be pushed into severe hunger and famine-like conditions during May-July unless assistance and access are maintained.

“The situation is extremely fragile, and we are close to seeing another famine. The projections are stark. If we ignore them, we’ll be faced with a growing tragedy. If farmers receive support to resume their livelihoods, we will see a rapid improvement in the country’s food security situation due to increased local production,” said Serge Tissot, FAO Representative in South Sudan.

A growing tragedy that must not be ignored

Overall hunger levels have risen due to protracted conflict that led to reduced food production and constantly disrupted livelihoods. This was further exacerbated by economic collapse, which impacted markets and trade, making them unable to compensate for the decrease in local food production.

Prolonged dry spells, flooding and continued pest infestation, such as Fall Armyworm, have also had a damaging impact.

“The situation is deteriorating with each year of conflict as more people lose the little they had. We are alarmed as the lean season when the harvest runs out is expected to start this year much earlier than usual,” said Adnan Khan, WFP Representative and Country Director. “Unless we can pre-position assistance rather than mount a more costly response during the rains, more families will struggle to survive.”

In areas like Unity, Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Central Equatoria, riddled by reoccurring outbreaks of violent conflict and displacement, the proportion of people suffering from extreme food insecurity ranges from 52 to 62 percent – more than half the states’ combined population. The number is expected to keep increasing unless people find the means to receive, produce or buy their own food.

Mapping hunger – projections for the first half of 2018

  • February-April 2018:  6.3 million people in IPC Phases 3 (“Crisis”), 4 (“Emergency”) and 5 (Catastrophe). This includes 50,000 people in IPC Phase 5.
  • May-July 2018: 7.1 million people in IPC Phases 3, 4 and 5. This includes 155,000 people in IPC Phase 5.

1.3 million children under five at risk of acute malnutrition

Conflict and worsening hunger have led to already soaring rates of malnutrition. Without assistance, as of May, more than 1.3 million children under five will be at risk of acute malnutrition.

Malnutrition rates are set to rise once the rainy season starts in April. Once this happens, many communities will become isolated and unable to reach medical services. The rains will make the country’s dirt roads unusable, and it will become more and more difficult to deliver supplies to medical centres.

“We are preparing for rates of severe malnutrition among children never before seen in this country,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “Without an urgent response and access to those most in need, many children will die. We cannot allow that to happen.”

Of particular concern are the areas around Leer, Mayendit, Longochuk and Renk where children under five face extremely critical levels of malnutrition.

Response to date

Last year, FAO, WFP, UNICEF and their partners rolled out their largest ever aid campaign, saving lives and containing famine. In 2017, agency partners conducted more than 135 rapid humanitarian missions to the most hard-to-reach areas, providing life-saving assistance to over 1.8 million people.

FAO provided 5 million people – many in difficult-to-reach or conflict-affected areas – with seeds and tools for planting, and fishing kits in 2017. FAO has also vaccinated more than 6.1 million livestock to keep animals alive and healthy. This has been vital as most of the population rely on livestock for their survival.

UNICEF and partners admitted some 208,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in 2017 and plan to reach 215,000 this year. Together with WFP, UNICEF took part in 51 rapid response missions in 2017 to reach communities cut off from regular aid assistance. The Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) will remain a key means of accessing conflict-affected communities in the coming months.

At the peak of its response this year, WFP aims to reach 4.4 million people with life-saving food and nutrition assistance. WFP is pre-positioning food in areas likely to be cut off during the rainy season, so people will not go hungry. WFP plans to pre-position 140,000 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies – 20 percent more than in 2017 – in more than 50 locations across the country.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees steps up support for Uganda’s refugee programme (20.02.2018)

The data verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by September 2018 – including introduction of biometric checks at food distribution sites.

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 20, 2018/APO Group/ —

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today new measures to support the government of Uganda’s refugee programme, including through a major biometric data verification exercise.
“We are taking extremely seriously recent developments in Uganda. The refugee programme in this country is of critical importance, given the scale of the emergency and the role model played by Uganda in welcoming and receiving so many people seeking international protection,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, George Okoth-Obbo.

“On 1 March, in support of the Ugandan government, we together with our partners are launching a massive biometric verification exercise of all refugees in Uganda. This nation-wide re-enrolment and verification process will be key to help the government in fixing discrepancies in refugee data,” added Okoth-Obbo.

UNHCR has already deployed staff, with partner emergency teams, to start the exercise. In total, more than 400 staff will register refugees.

The data verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by September 2018 – including introduction of biometric checks at food distribution sites. The tried and tested UNHCR biometric system has already been used in 48 countries across the world and helped register some 4.4 million refugees.

In parallel, UNHCR’s independent Inspector General’s Office is rigorously pursuing its own oversight and due diligence measures, including investigations of several serious allegations received in 2017 on fuel embezzlement, one allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse, irregular tendering of water trucking, and fraud in procurement and food distribution.

Uganda initiated a probe in January after reports received by UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) alleged corruption and grave misconduct by government officials involved in refugee assistance.

“Let me be crystal clear: the allegations reported so far are not focused on UNHCR. Our investigations aim at supporting the recently launched probe by the Ugandan prime minister to fight corruption and grave misconduct by its officials,” said UNHCR’s Okoth-Obbo.

“At UNHCR, we have zero tolerance for misconduct, abuse and exploitation. Every possible report or allegation is thoroughly assessed,” stressed Okoth-Obbo.

Allegations concerning other UN agencies or implementing partners have been referred to the respective organizations for internal investigation, and those concerning government staff or entities have been referred to authorities in Uganda. UNHCR is closely monitoring the outcomes of these investigations and is closely cooperating with the Ugandan authorities and other partners.

UNHCR is also strengthening its monitoring and oversight to prevent a reoccurrence of the events, including the deployment of more senior staff to help put in place additional safeguards.

These new measures are being implemented as the current Representative is reaching the end of his term and a more senior replacement is about to arrive.

“Throughout his time in Uganda, Mr Bornwell Kantande has demonstrated deep commitment, steering the UNHCR operation in a particularly challenging environment characterized by multiple refugee influxes, with Uganda now hosting the largest number of refugees of any country in Africa. After almost three years as Representative, he will shortly move to a new assignment and in the meantime continues to enjoy my full support and trust,” said UN High Commissionner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Uganda provides protection to well over one million refugees, keeping an open-door policy for people fleeing conflict and persecution.

“We need a strong and collective response which aims at strengthening the refugee programmes in Uganda, while drawing lessons from the current situation,” concluded UNHCR’s Okoth-Obbo.

World Food Programme Broadens Operation to Stem Severe Hunger in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai Region (16.02.2018)

Assessments showed that 3.2 million people, a quarter of the region’s population of mostly subsistence farmers, were desperately short of Food.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 16, 2018 -In the face of escalating violence, daunting logistical challenges and insufficient funding, the United Nations World Food Programme is energizing two key elements of its emergency operation to prevent famine in war-ravaged Kasai: cash distributions to the most vulnerable and specialist support to check acute malnutrition in women and young children.

Since the launch last week of the cash initiative – a cost-efficient alternative to in-kind support that allows beneficiaries to buy what they want in recovering local markets – 38,000 people have received the equivalent of US$15 each for a month, enough to meet their basic food needs. The intention is to more than double that reach in the coming weeks.

Recent airlifts from France of Plumpy’Sup, a micronutrient-rich ready-to-use supplementary food, have enabled a significant scale-up of WFP’s nutrition interventions in Kasai: 56,000 malnourished children treated in January, up from 21,000 in the final quarter of last year. The number is to grow by 20,000 a month, to 140,000 in June.

“The nutrition and cash programmes are life-saving, and must quickly expand”, said Claude Jibidar, WFP’s Representative in DRC. “We’re not doing nearly as much as we could in Kasai because the obstacles are huge. But unless we collectively rise to the challenges, many more people, including the weakest women and children, will die”.

WFP launched its assistance programme following the eruption of brutal political and ethnic violence in mid-2016 that claimed countless lives, razed entire villages and forced hundreds of thousands of families from their homes. Assessments showed that 3.2 million people, a quarter of the region’s population of mostly subsistence farmers, were desperately short of food.

Without a prior presence in Kasai, between September and December last year WFP achieved a tenfold increase in the number of people receiving food rations, to 400,000. But lagging donations forced a heavy reliance on scarce internal funds, and a halving of those rations – of cereal, beans, vegetable oil and salt – in November.

Continued funding constraints, an upsurge in fighting between pro- and anti-government forces and a rapid, rainy season deterioration of the already poor road network saw the number receiving half-rations drop to 130,000 in January.

“That reversal has to be corrected, and quickly”, said Jibidar. “We’ve shown we have capacity to deliver, but to reach sufficient scale we need the fighting to stop and donors to step up”.

Limited funding is also a major challenge in the eastern DRC provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu, where WFP is scaling up to meet the needs of growing conflict-displaced populations as part of a broad push by UN agencies and NGOs.

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