New leading global crisis emerges as South Sudan refugees in Uganda hits one million record
ARUA, UGANDA – As the one millionth South Sudanese refugee enters Uganda this week, there is a desperate need for action.
The refugees are particularly vulnerable to the long-term effects of conflict which include intensified poverty, hunger and diseases. Opportunities to make a living are severely limited and food scarcity is a growing concern among refugees, a new study led by World Vision 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 US) 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 theyouth 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.
"Otherwise, with no options, there is a fear that they may return to South Sudan and take part in the conflict." 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 US) per week. “Uganda is leading the world in their refugee response.
They’ve provided refugee families with plots of land so that people can build homes and grow gardens. The government is working hand-in-hand with organisations to deliver food, water, child protection programmes and other essential services,” said Gilbert Kamanga, World Vision’s National Director in Uganda. “Now is the time to further develop livelihood and peace building projects to assist refugees integrate and regain a sense of self-reliance.
“World Vision has been responding to South Sudanese refugee needs in Uganda since 2014. “More can be done to prevent the crisis from slipping into an irrecoverable state.
Donor support must continue to address the crisis and ensure protection of children, right to food, and economic developments are sustained for host communities and refugees,” Okabo said.
A total of 1.9 refugees from South Sudan have fled conflict and streamed into neighbouring countries. As of August 2017, 1 million of those refugees have migrated to Uganda.
A total of 62% of the refugees are children, 86% are woman and children.
World Vision has been on the ground responding refugees in northern Uganda since 2014.
It is currently providing child protection services, delivering food assistance and other basic necessities, implementing water, sanitation and hygiene programmes and serving hot meals to new arrivals at refugee reception centres.
Since May 2017, World Vision has reached 208,000 people with its response activities.
Additional findings in the report include: 89% of refugee households are concerned with the limited income generation opportunities in the refugee settlement areas
94% of refugees said potential food assistance ration cuts is a major concern
76% of refugees expressed concern about low levels of family income
58% of refugees rely entirely on food assistance for survival