Bidibidi Refugee Camp Overshoots Capacity As OPM Negotiates For Other Sites

3268 Views Yumbe, Uganda

In short
At the time of inception, Bidibidi Refugee Camp in Yumbe district was planned to accommodate 150,000 refugees. The number has, however, since doubled to more than 260,000 refugees, with more still arriving daily. This, according to officials from both the Office of Prime Minister OPM and other humanitarian agencies, has stressed the available resources planed for the refugees.

Bidibidi Refugee Camp in Yumbe district, currently the largest refugee camp in Uganda, has overshot its capacity by more than one hundred thousand people.

This has lead to overcrowding and stress on the available resources. 

At the time of inception, the camp was planned to accommodate one hundred and fifty thousand refugees. The number has, however, since doubled to more than 260,000 refugees, with more still arriving daily. This, according to officials from both the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) and other humanitarian agencies, has stressed the available resources planed for the refugees.

Fred Buzu, the Community Service Officer at the OPM, based at Arua Refugee Desk, says the facilities available now serve twice the number initially planned for. He says with this, the OPM will soon close the camp and open up new other resettlement areas.

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Buzu says final arrangements have already been made to open up the centres in Moyo to accommodate more refugees. He says the centre in Rhino Camp is also being expanded to accommodate more refugees. The centre opened initially to accommodate 25,000 refugees, but has since been expanded to handle more than 75,000 refugees. According to the community service office, discussions are underway to expand the settlements in other sub-counties in Arua district.

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The current statistics put the figures of South Sudan refugees living in West Nile region to more than 500,000  people, with close to 10,000 new arrivals daily. Other refugees also live in Kiryadongo Refugee Settlement camp, bringing the number to more than 800,000 people.

The influx has also placed a heavy burden on the available resources to cater for the large population, with sources of funding dwindling. The humanitarian agencies say with the recent flare up of conflicts in Middle East, more resources are being directed away from helping the South Sudanese refugees. 

At least 251 million US Dollars was needed to cater for the refugees in the country, but only about 90 million Dollars was received, leaving a deficit of 161 million.

 

About the author

Franklin Ezaruku Draku
Franklin Draku has been a journalist since 2004. In his 12 years of practice, Draku can say he has covered all the journalism beats that exist.

A Uganda Radio Network (URN) staff member since 2010, Draku is based in Arua. This is his second tour of duty in this area. Draku was URN's main education and environment journalist in Kampala for two years 2014 to 2016.

A Kyambogo University graduate, Draku first worked with Arua district based Radio Pacis in 2004. At the station, he was a production assistant, reporter, producer, and then talk show host. In 2008, he joined Transnile Broadcasting Service for a year.

Draku reports intensively on education, tourism, environment and local government. He has twice been a runner up for the National Journalism Awards in 2013 and in 2014.