Refugee Agencies Explore Alternatives as Funding Sources Dwindle

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In short
Aid agencies operating in refugee camps in Uganda have embarked on livelihood projects in the camps as the food situation and funding sources dwindle.

Aid agencies operating in refugee camps in Uganda have embarked on livelihood projects in the camps as the food situation and funding sources dwindle.
Currently, Uganda is host to more than half a million South Sudanese refugees who have been forced to flee their country due to the ongoing violence.
With the current wars in Middle East, much of food and financial assistance are being directed to the worst hit areas in Syria, Yemen and other countries, leaving Uganda and other African countries hosting the refugees in short supply.
Simon Ogwang, the senior Associate Protection Officer for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Arua sub office, says the situation is not good. He says with the limited supply, the focus now shifts to building the capacities of the host districts to provide the necessary resources. Ogwang says discussions are ongoing with different stakeholders on how to fully implement the new arrangement to ensure that the refugees become self-reliant.
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Ogwang says that in many host places food rations have been scaled down to 50 percent, while others are already on 100 percent cash to purchase food from outside. He says only new refugees are given food supplies while those that settled before July this year are expected to start harvesting what they produced from their fields.
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Fred Buzu, the Community Service Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister based in Arua, says the situation is getting complicated. He says out of 251 million US Dollars needed for 2016 alone, only 36 percent of the funding has been received leaving a huge deficit. Buzu says with this huge funding gap, new alternatives are being sought to sustain the refugee population in the camps.
He says that with the situation in South Sudan still volatile, the crisis may run out of hand if the different actors fail to talk peace.
According to available information from Office of the Prime Minister and UN agencies, there are about 865,472 refugees in Uganda spread across the various settlement camps.
The figures are based on biometric registration in the Government's Refugee Information Management System, and manual emergency registration, headcounts and wrist-banding for the emergency influx of new arrivals.
Thousands of the refugees continue to flee to Uganda with about 64 percent of the being children under 18. Refugees report that armed groups operating in the Equatorial region of South Sudan are attacking villages, killing civilians and burning down houses. The gangs also reportedly rape women and girls and kidnap young men and boys for conscription into their ranks.
The different armed forces are reportedly preventing the nationals from using major access roads out of the country, forcing many to walk through the bush for days, often without access to food and water.

South Sudan went back to war in July this year after fresh disagreements between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Dr Riek Machar.


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.