As the announcement of one million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda was made today, Lydia Zigomo, Oxfam's Regional Director of the Horn, East and Central Africa, said:
“As long as the senseless, costly and brutal war in South Sudan continues, its people will continue to flee to find protection, food, water and shelter. More than anything they need peace at home. South Sudan’s neighboring countries and the international community must honor their commitments to get South Sudan’s warring parties back to the negotiating table. Until then, it will not be safe for South Sudanese refugees to return home, forcing them to depend on aid across the border.
“Uganda’s open-door policy to refugees has provided protection for one million South Sudanese. This is the third-largest population of refugees in the world. Yet Uganda is one of the most under-funded host nations. If the international community does not increase support to Uganda’s refugee response it could quickly buckle and fail. Donor governments must urgently release funds critical in supporting refugees with life-saving aid, and long-term support for those who have already fled their country. ”
Notes to editors:
The South Sudan refugee response in Uganda and across the region is severely underfunded. In Uganda, of the UN appeal for $673million this year, only 17 per cent has been received so far. At the recent Refugee Solidarity Summit the Government of Uganda appealed for $2billion to meet the humanitarian and development needs of all refugees in the country. Less than a quarter was pledged towards this with just $431.1million committed.
The vast majority of refugees – 86 per cent – are women and children who need specific support to keep them safe from rape, beatings, torture, hunger and abandonment.
Uganda is also a host country for refugees from DRC, Burundi, and CAR.
There are 1.94 million internally displaced people in South Sudan. 1 in 3 people have been forced from their home since December 2013. Almost 6 million people are in need of emergency aid. Oxfam is working from 10 bases across the country to get food, water and hygiene items to people. We have been working in Panyijar County, which is where many people from the famine-affected areas have fled. Oxfam is providing vouchers for canoes so that people sheltering from the conflict on islands in the swamps can get to the help they need. To help prevent diseases like cholera Oxfam is providing clean water, safe sanitation facilities and essential hygiene items. In South Sudan, Oxfam has provided regular emergency food distributions to over 415,000 people since February.