OPM to Relocate Refugees from Swampy Areas

1876 Views Yumbe, Uganda

In short
The most affected place is Ariwa settlement, part of Bidibidi refugee settlement camp in Yumbe district, where they were taken during the dry season in November and December. However, with the onset of the rainy season, the camp presents another emergency situation for the refugee community.

The Office of the Prime Minister is making arrangements to relocate South Sudanese refugees from swamps to higher grounds to avoid being caught up in floods.

The most affected place is Ariwa settlement, part of Bidibidi refugee settlement camp in Yumbe district, where they were taken during the dry season in November and December. However, with the onset of the rainy season, the camp presents another emergency situation for the refugee community.

Solomon Osakan, the Refugee Desk Officer at the regional OPM office in Arua says they are working out a relocation plan for the refugees. Osakan also says the office is in the process of demarcating and allocating plots of land for the refugees to start farming as the season sets in.

Each refugee in Uganda is entitled to a 50 by 50 plot of land for cultivation and settlement, materials for construction of a shelter and daily food rations for a period of at least one year. They are also integrated to access health care and education with the community they live in. They have a right to work and do business but also have freedom of movement.
 
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Osakan says that Bidibidi settlement camp is already beyond its capacity. Currently Bidibidi refugee settlement hosts a total of 272,602 refugees, making it the largest single refugee settlement in the world. Osakan says the number puts a huge demand on the meager resources that the donors are able to generate.

Rhino Camp settlement centre in Arua hosts up to 86,000 refugees while other settlement centres in Moyo and Adjumani are hosting over 100,000 and more than 200,000 refugees respectively.

The total displacement from South Sudan into the surrounding region is now 1.6 million people. However, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR, the rate of new displacements is alarming, representing an impossible burden on a region that is significantly poorer and which is fast running short of resources to cope.

Until recently, new arrivals were at a rate of around 2,000 people every day. The influx peaked in February at more than 6,000 in a single day. In March, the peak in a single day has been more than 5,000 with the current daily average of over 2,800 arrivals.

 

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.