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South Sudanese refugees in Uganda call for urgent action

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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 25, 2017 (KAMPALA) – South Sudanese refugees have condemned the lack of health care services and the continued shortage of food within the resettlement camps.

The refugees have calling on world leaders to urgently support the Ugandan government to help fight the current crisis.

Nearly a million refugees have arrived in Uganda since the crisis erupted in Juba in July 2016, leaving Uganda as the country putting up with the largest number of refugees in the continent.

Joyce Night, a South Sudanese civilian who fled from Yei says refugees in Uganda are facing a catastrophic problem, such as food and health related issues.

She appealed for help for the refugees, pleading that something urgent is done to assist the situation urgently.

Lack of enough health care facilities in the camps is another major issue putting others’ lives at risk.

“If you met with a health worker she/he may give you a painkiller that is if you are lucky enough, but sometimes you can be sent home without any treatment, “said Night.

Night went on to say that most women would be willing to run businesses, but the lack of capital to start the business, poses a challenge and as a result, the women remain idle in the camps.

Food ratios have been reduced among the refugees in the camps, which has deepened the crisis of the refugees in the resettlement camps.

“People eat one meal a day, and those are good days, but at times some families sleep without any food,” she said, adding that the relationship with the host community was good despites the few reported cases between the refugees and Ugandans.

Joyce Night said that some of the host communities fight with the refugees as they go to collect firewood in the bush, but she said that the issue has been handled.

In the resettlement camps, there are a few water points that cause frequent fighting among the communities.
Bol Thomas, another South Sudanese refugee who lives in Rhino camp in the West-Nile echoed concerns on the refugees’ challenges in Uganda.

He narrated that too many children who were separated from their parents as they fled from South Sudan need an urgent assistant because they are exposed to many dangers.

Thomas said that children as young as below 15 years are at great risks, particularly the girls.

The lack of enough schools in the refugee camps also an enormous problem, with 100-200 children sharing one classroom. One secondary school among a few primary schools in the camps accommodates thousands of children.

Thomas went on to say that most of the children in the camps sometimes go to bed with empty stomachs and this exposes them to malnutrition.

“When you see me looking like a dead skeleton don’t think am sick, it is because we eat one meal a day. Sometimes you will go without anything to bed,” he told Sudan Tribune.

As Uganda is about to host the World Refugees Crisis on Thursday where the United Nation Secretary General Antonio Guterres and many dignitaries will come together.

The South Sudanese refugees urged the leaders of the world to urgently find an alternative solution to the refugee crisis.

(ST)

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