Amid surging humanitarian needs for almost 100,000 refugees who have fled to Uganda so far this year, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and partners urgently require US$ 68 million for live-saving assistance and services.
Speaking at a press briefing at the United Nations in Geneva, Matthew Crentsil, UNHCR Representative in Uganda said that ”as refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to flee violence and seek safety in Uganda, the humanitarian response is being stretched to breaking point.”
At the start of 2022, Uganda was already hosting over 1.5 million refugees, making it one of the most important refugee host countries in the world and the largest on the African continent.
«UNHCR and its partners need urgent financial contributions to meet the urgent needs of new refugee arrivals in Uganda to upgrade the reception capacity and basic infrastructure of refugee settlements and prioritize their relocation of refugees to more suitable facilities”, said UNHCR’s Representative in Uganda.
Important gains in refugee self-reliance and economic inclusion are now at risk due to severe underfunding in the country.
«In an inter-agency appeal being revised from April this year, which covered an initial period of three months, UNHCR and 41 partners, including six UN agencies, 25 international and ten national non-governmental organizations, are seeking funds through the end of the year to support up to 150,000 refugees as arrivals continue”, said Matthew Crentsil.
The funding gap has already strained UNHCR’s capacity to provide critical support for basic humanitarian assistance, child protection services and livelihood opportunities.
”By the end of August, UNHCR had received just 38% of its 2022 funding requirement of 343.4 million to respond to the needs of refugees in Uganda, as determined at the start of the year », said UNHCR’s representative.
According to UNHCR, they cannot afford to purchase new stocks of medicines for health centres, while progress in reducing child and maternal mortality will regress and infant malnutrition will increase.
«Children, especially girls, face a higher risk of dropping out of school as UNHCR will be unable to pay teachers’ salaries, and already crowded classrooms would increase in size », said Matthew Crentsil. He added that « with no more funding to procure soap and hygiene kits for women and girls, their health and access to education will be negatively affected.”