By John Eremu
and Anne Mugisa
THE British government has given an additional sh3.1b in aid of the internally-displaced people in northern Uganda, as the World Food Programme (WFP) expressed great concern about the deteriorating security situation there.
The aid is meant to support the work of the World Food Programme, the United Nations Childrenâ€™s Fund (UNICEF) and the Uganda Red Cross Society, the British High Commission said in a statement yesterday.
Some 800,000 people are displaced in the area and are in need of food assistance.
LRA chief Joseph Kony has fought the Government for about 16 years. Kony has bases in southern Sudan where the UPDF has been pursuing him.
This is an increase from 520,000 people identified last month in need of food relief, a statement from the WFP said.
It said the displaced people in the camps in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader, continued to be terrorised by rebels.
â€œThe money will be used to supply relief items to the displaced people, to support social services and to purchase food within Uganda for distribution to those in need,â€ the statement said.
The new commitment is in addition to sh1.27b already spent by the British government this financial year to support provision of non-food items and child welfare services to internally displaced people. The money was channelled through UNICEF and Save the Children, Denmark.
The WFP said the insecurity had prevented people from accessing their fields and that there had been abductions in and around the camps as the people went out to look for food and firewood.
The WFP said a random check on 10 households revealed that there were no food reserves except for the WFP aid they had just received.
The organisation said insecurity was also hampering efforts by humanitarian bodies to access the people. Only WFP reaches them under heavy military escort.
WFP also said it was facing a shortfall of 44,064 tonnes of food commodities valued at US$24m, from December to June 2003.
Britain, through its Department for International Development (DfID), is one of Ugandaâ€™s biggest donors and has since 2000 committed sh5.6b for conflict resolution programmes including support to the Amnesty Commission.
DfID promotes poverty reduction in developing countries and will this financial year spend up to Â£75m (sh222b) towards such programmes in Uganda.
Its contribution to Ugandaâ€™s development comes through direct budget support and technical assistance towards the government Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP).