UN says number of S. Sudan refugees in Uganda hits 1million

Geneva  –   The United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR on Thursday announced that the number of refugees in Uganda from South Sudan has reached one million.

The UN agency said that over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda on a daily basis.

In addition to the million there, UNHCR said another million or even more South Sudanese refugees are being hosted by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

Reiterating its call to the international community for urgent additional support for the South Sudan refugee situation, UNHCR said that the funding shortfall in Uganda is now significantly impacting its ability to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services.

“With refugees still arriving in their thousands, the amount of aid we are able to deliver is increasingly falling short.

“For Uganda, 674 million U.S. dollars is needed for South Sudanese refugees this year, but so far only a fifth of this amount has been received,” the refugee agency said in a statement issued Thursday.

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Uganda and the UN in June held a fundraising meeting to raise money to cater to the refugees.

“In June, the World Food Programme was forced to cut food rations for refugees. Across settlements in northern Uganda, health clinics are being forced to provide vital medical care with too few doctors, healthcare workers and medicines,” said UNHCR.

According to the UN agency, more than 85 per cent of the refugees who have arrived in Uganda are women and children.

Moreover, recent arrivals continue to spark violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls, and the kidnapping of boys for forced conscription.

UN figures showed that since December 2013, when South Sudan’s crisis erupted in Juba, more than two million South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries, while another two million people are estimated to be internally displaced.

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