South Sudanese refugees in Uganda have resorted to selling their own clothes and bed sheets for money to buy food, according to CBC News.
Mary Opia Philip, a 32-year-old mother of five, told CBC News that she was forced to sell clothes off her own back and a few bed sheets in order to raise enough money to feed herself and her five children.
The UN refugee agency says Uganda is currently hosting more than 373,000 South Sudanese refugees and the number is expected to rise as the fighting continues.
“I never thought I would be selling my clothes, but I did it because I have nothing. It was my last option. Now we are just waiting to see whether we will survive or die,” Mary told CBC News.
With the growing number of refugees fleeing the troubled South Sudan, the government of Uganda, the UN refugee agency, and the World Food Program have been forced to reduce food supply for those who arrived more than a year ago by half.
“The numbers are escalating and the resources we are receiving are not matching that escalation,” WFP’s country director in Uganda, Mike Sackett, told CBC News.
According to Mike, food donations for Ugandan refugee program amount to $6 million per month, but the organization needs at least $7 million a month to be able to resume its full food rations to all refugees.
He further noted that WFP requires another $20 million be able to provide full food rations to all refugees for the whole year.
“Without very significant contributions we face the prospect of having to make more cuts,” Mike warned.
Some South Sudanese refugees are now contemplating going back to Juba, where government forces and Machar-led rebels have been engaging in heavy military bombardment, leaving hundreds of people dead.
Moses Asobaku, a 30-year-old father of two, told CBC News that his family isn’t used to eating red sorghum, and now he is thinking of sending his wife back to Juba, where they used to sell diesel and petroleum, to collect money and some food supplies.
In Juba, his family used to eat several meals a day, but now they have been forced to survive on one meal a day.
He also said he doesn’t have money to pay for his daughters’ education.
BY FREDRICK NGUGI