Belgium Donates Shs 11B to Support South Sudanese Refugees

The money will support refugee camps in Uganda and DRC

The Government of Belgium has made a donation of US$3, help 184, 713 (approximately Ushs 11.5 billion) to support UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s response to South Sudanese refugees fleeing to Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In Uganda and DRC, this critical funding will go towards meeting the basic needs of South Sudanese refugees and the provision of essential services such as water, healthcare and education.

It will also empower both refugees and the communities who host them by providing access to employment opportunities and skills training to improve their self-reliance.

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Since July 2016, refugees have been crossing the border from South Sudan into Uganda at an average rate of 2,500 per day, fleeing a conflict characterised by high levels of sexual violence and other atrocities.

Uganda is now host to more than 600,000 refugees who have fled from South Sudan. Bidibidi settlement in Yumbe, northern Uganda, which opened in August this year, has received more than 250,000 South Sudanese refugees and is now one of the largest refugee-hosting areas in the world.

Alarmingly, women and children continue to make up 86% of this influx. The Belgian government’s donation will also be used to ensure the protection of children, who make up 64% of all new arrivals, and women at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

An important part of protecting these vulnerable refugees will be biometric registration of those who have arrived in Uganda since fighting broke out in South Sudan in July 2016.

Uganda has maintained an exemplary refugee environment, giving refugees freedom of movement, the right to work and establish businesses, plots of land to cultivate and access to services.

However, the scale of the current crisis, which continues to face chronic and severe underfunding, has placed enormous pressure on the Government of Uganda and humanitarian agencies’ capacity to protect and provide essential services to these refugees. Only 36% of the $251 million required to meet the needs of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda for 2016 has been received.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The majority of the 65,000 South Sudanese refugees in DRC have arrived since mid-2016. Refugees are hosted in remote border regions which are difficult to access and where few humanitarian organizations are active.

UNHCR, together with its partners, is providing life-saving assistance to the refugees, many of whom are weakened by days or weeks in flight, travelling through the bush.

At the same time, UNHCR supports them to become self-sufficient, hosting them on sites shared with local Congolese communities. The refugees receive, among other types of support, access to farming land, agricultural tools and building materials.

The contribution of Belgium helps UNHCR to strengthen much-needed basic services to refugees, as well as contributing towards improving biometric registration. This registration allows UNHCR to identify persons with specific protection needs, such as unaccompanied children. The very high percentage of school aged children and youth require specific attention in terms of protection from forced recruitment, sexual exploitation and access to education. Women and children represent 84% of the refugee population in DRC.

In 2016, just 46 % of the $11.9 million required for South Sudanese refugees in DRC was received.


Belgium has been a longstanding supporter of UNHCR for many years, regularly contributing to the organisation’s core funding and through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This donation will go a long way towards protecting the lives of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda and the DRC.


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