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Uganda: Irish Aid airlifts relief aid for S. Sudan refugees

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South Sudanese refugees carrying Core Relief Items walk down a road in Bidibidi refugee settlement, Yumbe District, Northern Region, Uganda. (UNHCR/David Azia)
June 17, 2017 (KAMPALA) - The Government of Ireland has completed airlifting essential humanitarian items worth €500,000 to support South Sudanese refugees currently living in Uganda.

This critically needed assistance includes blankets, shelter construction materials, cooking sets and mosquito nets.

Irish Aid covered the costs of two separate airlifts to Uganda, one from Dubai on the 11 June and from Accra on 16, June, 2017.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reportedly received the supplies at Entebbe International Airport and will distribute them to South Sudan refugees in Uganda’s districts of Arua and Lamwo.

This support, officials said, comes at a critical time, with around 2,000 South Sudanese refugees arriving in Uganda daily since July 2016, when a new conflict erupted in Juba and quickly spread to other parts of the country.

The South Sudanese conflict has continued to drive people from their homes across the border into Uganda, which now hosts more than 1.2 million refugees, with 960,000 from South Sudan alone.

Despite the influx, Uganda has maintained its refugee welcoming policy, keeping its borders open and continuing to provide refugees with land, shelter, freedom of movement and access to services.

The people of Ireland have continued to offer support to the South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, and have provided €3 million in lifesaving assistance in 2016, including €1,114,000 to UNHCR.

“We are so grateful to the Irish people for showing solidarity with refugees,” says Bornwell Kantande, UNHCR Representative in Uganda.

“Such display of generosity clearly signals that Ireland stands with Uganda and the communities who have opened their doors and hearts to men, women and children fleeing conflict and violence in their home countries,” he added.

In September 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration, whereby 193 states pledged robust support to countries affected by large movements of refugees and migrants.

(ST)

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