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UNICEF, Partners Back New Refugee Strategy :: Uganda Radionetwork

UNICEF, Partners Back New Refugee Strategy

Relief agencies say the daily arrival rate of South Sudanese refugees to Uganda has declined to roughly 120 people a day in December 2017, compared to 2,000 per day in late 2016.
South Sudan refugees line up for Food in Uganda. Agencies say their arrivals have declined.
Relief agencies say the daily arrival rate of South Sudanese refugees to Uganda has declined to roughly 120 people a day in December 2017, compared to 2,000 per day in late 2016.

UNICEF and USAID Famine Early Warning Network(FewsNet)  say as of late November, Uganda was hosting approximately 1.3 million refugees, close 1.1 million of whom were from South Sudan.

Uganda according to two separate reports also hosts 300,000 refugees from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries in the region.

FewsNet said South Sudanese refugees who cultivated crops currently have access to some vegetables and horticultural crops. It however said humanitarian assistance remains the refugees' main source of food.

Reports indicate that the World Food Programme (WFP) provided a full ration in November and December to all refugees who arrived after July 2015. Some refugees, according to the agencies, were still food stressed.

UNICEF's updated report for December released on Thursday said 61 per cent of all refugees in Uganda are children.

The UN children's agency predicts that the refugee population in Uganda may grow to over 1.8 million by the end of 2018. Basic services in refugee-hosting districts, according to UNICEF, are overstretched, compromising the quality of services for both refugees and host communities.

The agency says sanitation coverage among refugees remains below 40 per cent, adding that while half of all refugees are school-aged children, only 35 per cent of refugee children aged 3 to 5 years are enrolled in pre-primary school.

The global acute malnutrition rate for new arrivals in refugee settlements is critically high at 14.9 - 21.5 per cent. UNICEF said access to safe water may be limited for up to 650,000 people affected by multiple shocks in 2018.

UNICEF further says it will support the Government of Uganda to incorporate emergency preparedness and response into its multi-year development plans, particularly in refugee hosting districts.

UNICEF and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), according to a statement, will implement a long-term refugee and host communities' empowerment strategy, in line with the Government's Settlement Transformation Agenda.

Uganda adopted the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in October last year. The agenda according to Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda is aimed at an integrated refugee management model as the best way of providing dignified asylum.

Dr Rugunda says Uganda has been hosting refugees for a long time, but the years 2016 and 2017 had presented the highest ever recorded inflows of refugees.

The Government's Settlement Transformation Agenda allows for refugees to have access to health, education, skills training and access to land as a way to promote self-reliance.

UNICEF and partners have pledged to provide technical guidance, equipment and supplies in priority emergency districts to support the expansion of routine social services.

UNICEF says it will employ a systems strengthening approach and build the capacities of communities in districts affected by natural hazards to facilitate effective adaptation and response to threats. 

Additional emergency response capacity according to the statement will be provided through an emergency standby partnership with the Uganda Red Cross Society.

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