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Uganda refugees to start receiving cash relief

Uganda Red Cross on 25th June, 2018 distributed relief non food items to families affected by landslides and floods in Kasese district, western Uganda. Courtesy photo.

The Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) and Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees (MODPAR) have resolved to start giving cash and not relief items to refugees and those affected by natural or man-made calamities in the country.

This was revealed during the launch of URCS’s innovative approaches in response preparedness this week.

Mr. Robert Kwesiga the Secretary General Uganda Red Cross Society told a local broadcaster not every person may be interested in a particular item being offered by a given donor. Some of the items include food, mats, blankets, delivery kits and detergents.

“People have choices, this tradition of saying there must be beans, maize – not everybody is interested in that food,” Mr Kwesiga said.

URCS says that many humanitarian organisations are majorly focused on giving tangible items to refugees and other disaster affected persons. The Organisation also urged that its looking at “forecast based relief” in order to minimise the impact of disasters of they occur.

“We can use modern information and technology. We can use modern ways of making projections to plan, and manage these kind of emergencies,” Mr Kwesiga said.

Earlier this year, Police in Hoima arrested three Congolese refugees on allegations of theft and selling of relief items.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson told the Observer Newspaper that the suspects, who escaped from Kyangwali refugee settlement area, were arrested after a tip-off from traders that they were selling blankets, mattresses, saucepans and basins, which had been donated to refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

A mini-survey by UNHCR in Kyangwali revealed that items bearing logos of humanitarian agencies are cheaply sold to communities.

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