South Sudan

Funds Run out as More South Sudan Refugees Flee to Uganda

With refugees fleeing South Sudan in their thousands, surrounding countries are straining under the weight of large numbers of displaced people and critically underfunded operations

The Government of Uganda has opened a new settlement in the north-west of the country at Yumbe to receive and accommodate thousands of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan.

This has capacity for more than 100, seek 000 individuals.

Uganda and Sudan have received an estimated 110, medications 000 and 100, medicine 000 new arrivals respectively in 2016, together accounting for more than 90 per cent of the new arrivals in the region this year.

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United Nations for High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) said in a statement to ChimpReports on Monday that funds are urgently needed to speed the relocation of more than 45,000 refugees out of overstretched and severely congested reception and transit centres.

With so many people living in such close proximity, officials said the potential for disease outbreak is high.

“UNHCR teams are monitoring the situation closely, but need further resources to respond effectively.  With some reception sites accommodating more than five times their capacity, protection interventions, particularly prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence including psychosocial services, are critical,” said the humanitarian body.

High numbers of refugees are creating a burden on local health and education services.

The development of the Maaji III settlement, which was opened earlier this year, has been put on hold leaving the new settlement without key basic infrastructure and services (medical services are being provided in tents).

In Adjumani (some 20km from the South Sudan border), clean water is being trucked, which itself is expensive, until resources become available to drill more boreholes and extend water systems to reach new settlement areas.

At the same time, the development of newly opened settlement areas in Adjumani and Yumbe districts will require significant additional investment.

UNCHR said torrential rains are hampering relief efforts, slowing relocation efforts and requiring immediate road repairs.


And there are fears that in the event of outbreak of disease, existing capacities and resources will be inadequate to respond effectively.

In the face of desperate needs for the population of South Sudanese refugees now standing at 930,000, UNHCR is facing critical funding shortages.

With US$ 122 million received, representing 20 per cent of the $608.8 million needed by UNHCR for refugees in South Sudan and the six countries of asylum, many activities have been suspended in favour of providing critical life-saving support to new arrivals.

Worst affected are remote regions in Uganda, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic where UNHCR had no previous presence.

In the case of Uganda, three quarters of the refugee arrivals have been since the outbreak of conflict in July, when the arrival rate peaked at more than 8,000 in one day.

Accounts from new arrivals — 90 per cent of whom are women and children, mostly from Juba and other parts of Central Equatoria — point to a breakdown in law and order in their home areas.

People cite rampant violence including killings and clashes between government forces and armed groups.

They also report that armed groups are robbing civilians and extorting money from them, preventing those who are unable to pay from leaving, and sexually assaulting women.

Armed groups are also reportedly abducting children aged 12 and above from schools and threatening people. Disappearances are said to also be on the rise.


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