United Nations renews call for help of South Sudanese refugees

19 August, 2017, 21:16 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Tabu makes a rock garden with her twin sister outside their shelter

People are fleeing South Sudan because of the ongoing civil war there, which has been raging since 2013.

Over the past year, about 1800 South Sudanese citizens arrived in Uganda every day. BBC reporter Catherine Byaruhanga tells BBC Minute about Uganda's unique system for welcoming refugees.

During the visit this week, Grandi met with South Sudanese refugees and their local hosts at the Al-Nimir refugee camp in East Darfur, Sudan.

People continue to leave violence in the impoverished country, with many crossing the border to Uganda, where those who gain official refugee status are given land to work from the government and host communities.

Refugees are mainly concerned with a reduction in food distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP) while host communities are particularly anxious about the scarcity of food in markets causing the inflation of prices of staples such as cassava flour, which has doubled in price since December 2016. We see health clinics with insufficient doctors, drugs and health care workers.

The UN agency says that the funding shortfall in Uganda is now significantly impacting the abilities to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services.

"Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription", the statement said.

South Sudan's civil war began in December 2013, but aid agencies say there has been increasing violence a power-sharing deal fell apart in July of previous year.

"Elsewhere in the region, the picture is only marginally better", the statement continued, saying that while a total of $883.5 million was needed for the South Sudan situation, only $250 million has been received.

"South Sudan's neighbours and the global community must honour their commitments to get the warring parties back to the negotiating table". Over 85 percent of the South Sudanese refugees sheltering in Uganda are women and children.

South Sudanese families continue to arrive, exhausted, in Uganda. They are often unaccompanied and their mental and physical health is at risk due to the atrocities they were subjected to.

Fighting persists in parts of South Sudan despite multiple cease-fire agreements.

"With refugees still arriving in their thousands, the amount of aid we are able to deliver is increasingly falling short".

UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel showed solidarity to refugees and the Ugandan government.

Since 2014, the United Kingdom has provided £93.5m ($122m) of funding to the refugee response in Uganda. Hundreds of thousands of people have also been provided with clean water and items including blankets and cooking utensils.

There is no end in sight to the conflict; global peacemaking efforts have stalled, said South Sudan analyst Alan Boswell.

Oil-rich South Sudan became the world's youngest nation in 2011, upon its independence from neighbouring Sudan, but the elation soon evaporated amid corruption and ethnic divisions. However, the newly created country has known very little peace, as it descended into war just two years after its creation.



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