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UNHCR seeks funds for South Sudanese, DRC refugees fleeing to Uganda

By Staff Writer

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and 44 humanitarian partners are urgently appealing for 47.8 million U.S dollars to respond to critical needs of thousands of refugees who arrived in Uganda this year.

It said in a statement issued on Friday that this refugee crisis is due to renewed violence in Eastern part of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and sporadic clashes in South Sudan.

“Since January, Uganda has generously welcomed over 35,000 refugees. A third of those have arrived in just the past three weeks from the DRC, fleeing intense fighting in North Kivu and Ituri provinces,” said Boris Cheshirkov, spokesperson of UNHCR in Geneva.

Cheshirkov disclosed that these funds once availed will strengthen Uganda’s capacity to receive more refugees in case of further displacement.

He added that UNHCR is coordinating with the government of Uganda and humanitarian partners to provide emergency assistance, and protection to refugees in border areas.

“We are making efforts to relocate them to refugee settlements as soon as possible,” said Cheshirkov.

He said that priorities for these refugees include, protection, food, shelter and essential household items.

“Funding will also support urgently needed health-care supplies, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases,” said Cheshirkov.

Uganda already hosts over 1.5 million refugees – the largest refugee population on the African continent, and is now receiving thousands of new arrivals from South Sudan, in West Nile State to the north, and the DRC, arriving in southwestern Uganda.

 “While this influx may not be dominating the headlines, the challenges are significant and mounting,” said Cheshirkov.

The Uganda Emergency Appeal is intended to support coordinated efforts for an initial emergency response to the influx of up to 60,000 refugees in Uganda in the first half of 2022, with 45,000 new arrivals from April to June 2022.

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