KAMPALA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Monday announced that it had stopped general food distributions for an estimated 214,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in war-torn northern Uganda.
Stanlake Samkange, WFP Country Director, said in a statement that due to the "much improved security situation in the region", after over 20 years of war, the IDPs can now access farming land.
He said the Global Acute Malnutrition in the region has also decreased and is now below 10 percent.
"Since January, we have phased off nearly 66,000 IDPs in Pader district, more than 58,000 others in Amuru district, nearly 60,000in Kitgum and over 27,000 in Gulu district," he said.
He said though the food aid agency has stopped the distribution, it will continue to monitor the food and nutrition security situation to avoid a relapse.
"We will support phased-off IDPs through recovery initiatives including cash and vouchers, so as to help them rebuild their livelihoods," he said.
He said the IDPs can take advantage of WFP's local food purchase program to cultivate more food and sell it to the agency.
The agency within the next three years plans to double what it has been buying in Uganda to purchase over 100 million U.S. dollars worth of food annually.
For over a decade, WFP was a lifeline in northern Uganda, where atrocities of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army forced some two million people out of their homes and farms. The IDPs sheltered in crammed camps where they had little access to basic human needs including food, clean water and medicine.
At the height of the conflict, around 2003-2004, WFP reached an estimated 1.5 million IDPs each month through relief, school feeding, food-for-assets and health and nutrition programmes.