Uganda now hosts 1 million South Sudan refugees, seeks for more international support to meet their needs


The President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni promised a few weeks earlier that the country would never close its doors to the refugees fleeing violence and conflicts from their countries, a promise he so kept.

Thousands of refugees from South Sudan have daily been reported arriving on the various boarders of Uganda, escaping from violence, starvation and murder as results of the ongoing war in their country since 2013.

On Thursday, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the number of refugees in Uganda has reached 1 million, which the country can no longer cater for unless thrown a helping hand from the international community.

According to the UNHCR, 1,800 South Sudanese refugees have been reaching Uganda everyday for safety. He has also in a statement stated that another one million or more refugees are hosted in other neighboring countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic.

Refugees in Uganda are vaccinated and thoroughly attended to medically, they are provided with shelter, food, water, plots of land for agriculture, children are sent to school and they are free to move around the country and look for jobs when needed.

However, the UNHCR is saying that all of that is now becoming a challenge since they no longer have enough funds yet the number of refugees is still expected to raise more.

‘Despite the fact that the Ugandan government, the UN and NGOs have done a commendably remarkable job, they are at the point struggling to meet even the most basic needs of South Sudan’s refugees, like; food, water, education and shelter, let alone other needs such as psychosocial support for refugees who are deeply traumatized.’ Said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Charlie Yaxley, the UNHCR spokesman, has informed that the donor nations have still not provided enough. He said that the UN South Sudan refugee budget for 2017 totals up to $674 million. However, they have so far just received 21% of the budget.

‘That leaves significant gaps in the abilities of the humanitarian response to deliver lifesaving assistance and also key basic services,’ the UNHCR spokesman said.

Amongst the daily arriving South Sudan refugees in Uganda, 85 percent are said to be women and children. The stories they tell of what happened to the boys and the men are horrific, though, just a few of them still manage to escape.

Families are burnt from inside the houses, women and girls are raped, men are killed before their families and the boys are taken to be trained to become the young rebels.

‘Families are escaping a living hell in South Sudan. The stories that they tell us are truly terrifying. The war in South Sudan continues to rage, proved by the arrival of refugees fleeing to Uganda,’ said Muhumed Hussein, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Country Director for Uganda.

Those that manage to escape only get a chance to reach Uganda and the neighboring countries via bushes. Otherwise some still fail if they decide to use the main roads because the rebels are reported to have already set up roadblocks on each main road.







Reporter: Shamilah Namuddu

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