In Summary

  • Uganda, which hosts more than half a million refugees from South Sudan where fighting is raging, is now calling on the international community for urgent support to enable it accommodate refugees.
  • The country has gained global acknowledgement for its open refugee policy at a time when more and more countries are closing their doors to refugees who are fleeing for their lives.

KAMPALA, Thursday

With more than one million refugees and 40,000 more coming in daily from neighbouring South Sudan Uganda, has started to feel the pinch of refugee influx amid acute funding pressures.

The East African country, which hosts more than half a million refugees from South Sudan where fighting is raging, is now calling on the international community for urgent support to enable it accommodate refugees.

Uganda has gained global acknowledgement for its open refugee policy at a time when more and more countries are closing their doors to refugees who are fleeing for their lives.

The other refugees hosted in different parts of the country are mainly from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi while some are from Eritrea and Ethiopia.

At the African Union Summit in Ethiopia late last month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni met with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and they agreed to hold conference on the refugee situation next month.

President Museveni, according to a State House statement, told the UN Chief that the refugee situation was a posing a growing challenge to the country each day.

On Tuesday, Uganda and the UN refugee agency re-echoed that appeal for international assistance, saying the refugee burden was heavy for the country to carry alone.

‘’It’s getting a little heavy for us to manage the refugee situation. We are constrained and overwhelmed with the numbers,” Mr Hillary Onek, Uganda’s minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, told reporters.

'BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS'

“We have budgetary constraints for hosting, providing food, shelter, water, sanitation, health services, school for children and physiological support to the refugees,” he said.

Mr Ajit Fernando, deputy country representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) here said the refugee agency is facing acute funding shortages.

“We are chronically facing underfunding to handle the refuge situation.

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