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Refugee influx: Uganda, UNHCR at ‘breaking point’

Author : Hellen Achayo | Published: Friday, March 24, 2017

Uganda and the UN High Refugee Agency have called for “urgent and massive support for the thousands of South Sudan refugees who continue to arrive in Uganda every day”.

Uganda currently hosts more than 800,000 South Sudanese refugees, according to UNHCR.

Among them are some 572,000 new arrivals who have poured into Uganda since July last year.

It says this year alone, more than 172,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Uganda, with new arrivals in March averaging more than 2,800 daily.

“Breaking point”

In a joint statement, the Government of Uganda and UN High Commissioner for Refugees say chronic and severe underfunding has reached a point where critical life-saving help risks becoming dangerously compromised.

“We are at breaking point. Uganda cannot handle Africa’s largest refugee crisis alone,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“The lack of international attention to the suffering of the South Sudanese people is failing some of the most vulnerable people in the world when they most desperately need our help.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda, says his country has continued to maintain open borders.

“But this unprecedented mass influx is placing enormous strain on our public services and local infrastructure,” Rugunda stressed.

He says there is an urgent need for the international community to assist as the situation which is becoming increasingly critical.

UNHCR says it urgently needs more than a quarter of a billion US dollars to support South Sudanese refugees in Uganda in 2017.

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