Facing huge shortfall in funds UN agency forced to slash food for

16 March 2007Facing a critical lack of funds, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it would be forced to halve food rations for nearly 1.5 million displaced people and refugees in Uganda as of the beginning of next month. Facing a critical lack of funds, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it would be forced to halve food rations for nearly 1.5 million displaced people and refugees in Uganda as of the beginning of next month. “If we don’t cut them by 50 per cent in the next few weeks, the relief operation would grind to a halt in May,” WFP Country Director Tesema Negash said.The agency has so far received only $37 million of the $127 million it has sought from donors and the Government to provide for relief and recovery support this year for 1.2 million displaced people, 182,000 refugees and 500,000 drought victims. In 2007, some 170,000 metric tons of food worth $90 million are needed for these programmes.Since 2005, WFP has reduced rations to as low as 40 per cent of the minimum daily requirement per person in some areas. This month it removed nutritious corn soya blend for children’s porridge from the general relief package for families.If the shortage of funds continues, WFP will be forced in May to make further cuts in maize and beans for 600,000 school children assisted by an emergency food for education programme, as well as for some 240,000 people affected by HIV/AIDS. Mr. Negash noted that it costs about $11 million a month to sustain the relief and recovery operation in Uganda.“Even though the security situation in northern Uganda has improved and the peace process with the [rebel] Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is moving ahead, the humanitarian needs of the people remain considerable,” he said of the conflict which has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.“It is vital that we do not abandon the displaced at this critical stage in the peace process. Even after they have returned home, we expect them to require humanitarian support until they are able to harvest sufficient amounts of food for their families.”If the security situation remains stable and the Government reaches a peace agreement with the LRA, WFP foresees a massive return of people to their homes in Acholiland.To help displaced people voluntarily returning home, WFP provides a three-month package until they can plant sufficient food. “We cannot provide that assistance without some buffer stock,” Mr. Negash said. read more

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Canadian adventurer to relive Arctic expedition during Brock talk

Winter is coming. Through blustering winds, treacherous terrains and sleepless nights, those three words remained a mantra in the mind of Adam Shoalts (BA ’09). When the modern-day voyageur set off to conquer the Canadian Arctic in May, he knew it would be a race against time to reach the finish line by September.During every twist and turn of the amazing one-man expedition, the Brock History grad could feel Mother Nature breathing down his neck, threatening to usher in winter without warning.But with determination on his side, the 31-year-old Pelham native was able to complete his journey through the remote wilderness unscathed, living to tell the tale of the four-month adventure that saw him walk and canoe an incredible 4,000 kilometres across the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut — from the Alaska border to Hudson Bay.Shoalts will share stories from the heart-stopping expedition through Canada’s north during a talk at Brock University next month.Alone Across Canada’s Arctic will take place Thursday, Dec. 7 beginning at 7 p.m. in Brock’s Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. The event is co-sponsored by Brock University and the Department of History.Shoalts will recount his journey through isolation, treacherous terrain, fierce weather and close encounters with bears, wolves and other wildlife in Canada’s north.“When you look a wild wolf in the eye and it looks right back, it’s almost an indescribable feeling,” Shoalts says. “It’s really special to see such a magnificent animal in its natural habitat.”He plans to share with the crowd many photos from his adventure.Following the talk, Shoalts will be signing copies of his new book, A History of Canada in Ten Maps: Epic Stories of Charting a Mysterious Land.There is no cost to attend the event, but tickets are required. Registration is available through the Department of History’s website. read more

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