UN says number of S.Sudan refugees in Uganda hits 1 mln mark

GENEVA/KAMPALA, Aug. 18– The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency
UNHCR on Thursday announced that the number of refugees in Uganda from
South Sudan has reached 1 million.

The UN agency said that over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 South
Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda each day. In addition to the million
there, UNHCR said another million or even more South Sudanese refugees are
being hosted by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo and the Central African Republic. Reiterating its call to the
international community for urgent additional support for the South Sudan
refugee situation, UNHCR said that the funding shortfall in Uganda is now
significantly impacting its ability to deliver life-saving aid and key
basic services. “With refugees still arriving in their thousands, the
amount of aid we are able to deliver is increasingly falling short. For
Uganda, 674 million U.S. dollars is needed for South Sudanese refugees this
year, but so far only a fifth of this amount has been received,” the
refugee agency said in a statement issued Thursday.

Uganda and the UN in June held a fundraising meeting to raise money to
cater to the refugees. “In June, the World Food Programme was forced to
cut food rations for refugees. Across settlements in northern Uganda,
health clinics are being forced to provide vital medical care with too few
doctors, healthcare workers and medicines,” said UNHCR. According to the
UN agency, more than 85 percent of the refugees who have arrived in Uganda
are women and children. Moreover, recent arrivals continue to spark
violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians
inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of
women and girls, and the kidnapping of boys for forced conscription. UN
figures showed that since December 2013, when South Sudan’s crisis erupted
in Juba, more than two million South Sudanese have fled to neighboring
countries, while another two million people are estimated to be internally
displaced. – XINHUA