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EU pledges over Euros 2m for South Sudanese refugees

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August 19, 2017 (KAMPALA) - The European Union (EU) department for humanitarian aid and civil protection said it is doubling funding to International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to support South Sudanese refugees in the Ugandan districts of Yumbe and Moyo.

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A UNHCR staffer scans the fingerprints of a South Sudanese refugee child into its database at the Zawanzi transit camp in Uganda’s Adjumani district on 19 March 2014 (ST)

Initially, the EU Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) had pledged Euros 1million (about Shs 4.2b) for water and sanitation projects in the two districts but given the continued influx of the refugees, added another Euros 1m.

ECHO resident representative, Isabelle D’Haudt said the move was to show solidarity with Uganda for its continued support to refugees.

The donation, according to a statement, will be channeled through IOM and its partner organisation, Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

The announcement of the new funds reportedly brings to Euros 2.2million (Shs 9.4b) the total IOM funding for the two districts of Uganda.

The head of IOM in Uganda, Ali Abdi, praised the EU and the government for the continued support to South Sudanese refugees, especially as the influx keeps increasing every day.

“The EU has been an unwavering partner of the people of Uganda and of IOM, and we see yet again that the EU is coming in where help is critically needed,” Abdi said in a statement issued by IOM.

Currently, Uganda is ranked 5th among nations with the largest refugee population in the world, 2016 estimates from the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) show.

Meanwhile, UNHCR said Thursday that the numbers of South Sudanese refugees currently living in Uganda exceeded one million and called for urgent additional support.

Majority of the refugees, the agency said, are women and children.

“Over the past 12 months, averages of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda every day,” UNHCR said in a statement.

“In addition to the million there, a million or even more South Sudanese refugees are being hosted by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic,” it added.

According to the UN agency, however, over 85% of the refugees who have arrived in Uganda are women and children below 18 years.

The UN agency underscored that although $674 million is needed for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda this year, so far only a fifth of this amount, or 21%, has so far been received. But although a total of $883.5 million is needed for the South Sudan situation, only $250 million, according to UNHCR, has been received.

(ST)

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