World Vision alarmed at staggering number of recently unaccompanied and separated South Sudanese children seeking refuge in Uganda

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  • Organization is registering more than 100 separated and unaccompanied children daily
  • Within next few months, Uganda could host nearly 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children
Uganda child refugees
One of the child refugees from South Sudan receives food at a Uganda refugee camp. Thousands of children have been arriving alone, without parents.

KAMPALA, Uganda (May 18, 2017) — Humanitarian organization World Vision reports that some 9,000 unaccompanied minors and separated children from South Sudan have crossed into Uganda since July 2016.

The organization warns that unless conflict ceases in South Sudan, Uganda could be home to some 10,000 recently separated and unaccompanied refugee children in the next two months.

World Vision is currently overseeing case management and identification of separated refugee children and unaccompanied minors at Bidibidi and Imvepi refugee settlements in northern Uganda.

‘’Every day, World Vision is registering more than 100 separated and unaccompanied minors at Imvepi refugee settlement. The majority of these children saw their parents being killed while others lost touch with their families once fighting broke out. Some of them walk for more than a week to get to Uganda, with nothing to eat. This is one of the worst forms of violence against children. It must stop. Peace needs to prevail in South Sudan,’’ urged Gilbert Kamanga, the World Vision Uganda country director.

Uganda has been receiving more than 2,000 refugees from South Sudan daily, with women and children accounting for 86 percent of this number, according to international refugee body UNHCR.

Uganda, currently home to more than 890,000 refugees from South Sudan has in the last year become host to the largest refugee settlement in the world, Bidibidi with a population of 270,000 people.

‘’Children make up the highest percentage of new arrivals and they bear the brunt of the conflict in South Sudan. This ongoing influx has caused huge needs in the areas of child protection, psychosocial support, education, social cohesion, and youth development programming,’’ added Mr. Kamanga

According to World Vision, 6,057 unaccompanied minors and separated children have been registered in Bidibidi settlement, while 3,098 have been registered at Imvepi refugee settlement.

Together with its partners, World Vision has been able to institute interim foster care support for more than 2,500 unaccompanied minors plus help at least 1,000 separated children re-unite with their relatives.

World Vision says implementing partners on the ground could do more to meet the needs of the affected children but only if they can access sufficient funding. World Vision has supported more than 661,000 refugees and host community members in the area in April alone in Uganda through its interventions ranging from food assistance and provision of basic household supplies, to child protection, livelihoods and water, hygiene, and sanitation support.

The humanitarian response in Uganda continues to face significant challenges in light of chronic and severe underfunding. In 2016, the humanitarian response for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda received just 40 percent of the $251 million requested, compromising the abilities of the response to provide vital aid. On May 15th, UNHCR and WFP, in a joint statement, appealed for $1.4 billion for countries hosting South Sudanese refugees, of which Uganda has the largest caseload.

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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 or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.