NAMULONGE, Uganda — Before rows of tall, green bushes, Jude Aleu picks a cassava tuber off the ground and cracks it in half.
That shouldn’t be so easy. Healthy cassava tubers — a staple food crop in the region — can grow as thick as your upper arm. But the root in Aleu’s hands is stunted and gnarled. When he breaks it open, the flesh is streaked with the tawny yellow of brown streak disease. The entire harvest may be inedible.
A crowd of refugees press into a food distribution area at Pagirinya Refugee Settlement, one of the newest camps built to accommodate the latest arrivals in northern Uganda, just across the border from South Sudan.
Jonathan Taban, a father of six, explained that he's trying to see when he will receive food rations. He's been skipped twice now for a monthly allotment of grains, and he can't figure out why.
Heavy fighting in South Sudan has pushed about 150,000 refugees across the border into Uganda over the past two months. In July, the World Food Programme cut food rations in half for residents of settlement camps who have been in the country for more than a year.
The toll of the conflict is clear in refugee camps in the Adjumani District, near Uganda's northern border.