BY DAUDI NANA
As the tide of refugees from South Sudan into northern Uganda continues to swell, buy it was reported on Thursday that Japan has released additional Shs 35.9 billion to support the emergency response.
A statement released to the media said that UNICEF said will take Shs 10.8 billion ($ 3 million), while the world body’s refugee agency will receive Shs 14.3 billion ($4 million) of Japan’s donation. The World Food Programme will take the remaining Shs 10.8 (US$3 million).
“This contribution will go a long way towards assisting some of the most vulnerable people in society with a life of dignity, while providing richly-deserved support to host communities in northern Uganda, who continue to generously welcome refugees with open arms,” reads the press release dated August 24.
The press release adds that the funding to UNHCR will help to strengthen the bonds between refugees and Ugandans, who live together side-by-side on land provided by host communities.
UNHCR Representative to Uganda, Mr Bornwell Kantande said the contribution will also help to provide newly arrived refugees with blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and other key items.
Since violence broke out in South Sudan in 2013, there has been widespread displacement of the South Sudanese population resulting in a mass influx into Uganda and other neighbouring countries.
“To-date, Uganda is hosting over one million refugees from South Sudan, with eighty two per cent (82%) being women and children,” the release which was signed by communications officer Proscovia Nakibuka, added.
Mr Kantande says sports stadium and market place in the districts of Adjumani and Moyo shall be upgraded to benefit around 580,000 refugees and people in host communities, allowing them greater economic opportunities and improving shared community infrastructure.
“We are tremendously grateful to the people of Japan for their on-going support to UNHCR and the refugee response,” said Mr Kantande.
Aida Girma, the UNICEF Representative in Uganda, said the funding channelled through UNICEF will also provide access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene and immunisation services reaching 160,000 people Yumbe, Arua and Moyo.
She explained that with this contribution, which is the second received from the government of Japan this year, WFP has already bought nearly 4,600 metric tons of food.
Mr El Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director, said WFP relies entirely on the voluntary support of governments and other donors.
“Every dollar we receive from donors contributes to saving the lives of refugees, the large majority of whom are women and children. We thank Japan for its commitment to addressing hunger.”
The humanitarian support provided by the three humanitarian agencies is hinged on the long term Refugees and Host Community Empowerment Framework (ReHoPE) strategy and in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).
In the Ugandan context, the CRRF is being applied through the strengthening of five pillars: (1) admission and rights, (2) emergency and ongoing needs, (3) resilience and self-reliance, (4) expand solutions, and (5) voluntary repatriation.