A rise in conflict and insecurity in South Sudan since early July has sent more than 37,000 people — 90% of them women and children — fleeing across the border to Uganda for safety.
With thousands crossing daily, refugees are overwhelming reception centers, reports World Vision communications officer Moses Mukitale from the border. Food rations may have to be cut back to meet the increased demand, he says. Heathcare, water, and sanitation services are also stretched beyond capacity.
As the number of refugees increased, the Ugandan government opened two new refugee settlements. World Vision doubled its staff delivering high-energy biscuits to new arrivals. World Vision is setting up two new Child-Friendly Spaces, in addition to four that are providing a place to play and receive psychosocial care to children who arrived earlier.
“Today (July 28) Uganda received 1,340 refugees from South Sudan. All of them received high-energy biscuits from World Vision and have been transferred to Nyumanzi and Pagarinya refugee settlements,” Moses says, and 13,410 refugees received sorghum, beans, vegetable oil, salt, and other staples.
The new refugees have begun receiving plots of land inside the refugee settlements where they can establish a home and garden. Once they settle, they qualify for monthly food rations that World Vision distributes at Nyumanzi and Pagarinya reception centers in Adjumani district, northern Uganda.
At the end of 2015, Uganda hosted more than 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers, making it the third-largest refugee-hosting country in Africa after Ethiopia and Kenya. Ugandan law automatically grants refugee status to South Sudanese, which entitles them to the same social services as nationals, the right to work, education, freedom of movement, and access to land for home and farming.
World Vision aid to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda includes:
- Distribution of high-energy biscuits to all new arrivals
- General food distribution for more than 155,000 refugees
- Nutrition centers for breastfeeding mothers and children with malnutrition
- Child-Friendly Spaces
- Early childhood development classes
- Peacebuilding programs for youth
- Water and sanitation