Number of South Sudanese Refugees Fleeing to Uganda Reaches One Million

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Brian P. Duss
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Highlights

  • 86% of those who fled South Sudan and sought safety in Uganda are women and children
  • Number of refugees in the world today greatest since World War II
south sudan pic uganda
Thousands of refugees from South Sudan arrive at the most recently established Imvepi reception center in Arua district, Uganda. Children, women and men are feeling the country with their belongings, livestock and sometimes with nothing. According to UNHCR, on an average 2200 refugees are crossing into Uganda every single day. In partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), World Vision provides hot meals to the recently arrived refugees at the Imvepi reception center in Arua district, Uganda. For hundreds of children, this is probably the first proper meal they have eaten in days.

UGANDA (August 17, 2017) —World Vision calls for immediate action as the one millionth South Sudanese refugee enters Uganda this week.

“There are more refugees in the world today than at any time since World War II. Today’s refugee crisis is a global catastrophe,” said World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns. “It’s also a catastrophe for children. Regardless of where you look—the Middle East or East Africa—more than half the refugees you see are children. We can’t sit on the sidelines when there are so many innocent people in desperate need.”

The refugees fleeing South Sudan are particularly vulnerable to the long-term effects of conflict which include intensified poverty, hunger and diseases. Opportunities to make a living in Uganda are severely limited, and food scarcity is a growing concern among refugees, a new study led by World Vision, Caritas and UNHCR has found.

The report further found that the majority of paid work that does exist is part-time, from 0 to two days per week, and pays less than 10,000 UGX ($2.78) per week.

“People told us they’re worried about the growing cost of food in the market, their lack of means to earn an income and, for refugees, their reliance on food assistance,” said Benson Okabo, World Vision’s Operation Director of the West Nile Refugee Response.

The study interviewed 1,135 refugee and host community families in Arua District, in northern Uganda, and learned that while the youth are the majority of the population, most of them remain unemployed.

“With more than one million refugees from South Sudan in Uganda, we have to make sure that the children on the move are protected and that when they arrive, they are able to have opportunities to fully participate in society here,” said Enid Kabasinguzi Ocaya, World Vision’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Emergency Affairs Manager in Uganda.

World Vision has been responding to South Sudanese refugee needs in Uganda since 2014. Uganda is home to Bidi Bidi, the world’s largest refugee camp.

“With comprehensive support, the world will see that refugees from South Sudan and the host community co-exist peacefully and contribute significantly to the Ugandan economy. More can be done to ensure that children and young people are protected, have the right to food realised and are able to participate in sustainable economic activities by further funding and creating programs to meet the ongoing needs of this refugee response,” said Gilbert Kamanga, World Vision’s National Director in Uganda.

 

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.