More than 200 Congolese refugees enter Uganda

More than 200 Congolese nationals have crossed to Kanungu district following clashes between Mai Mai militias and the Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo- FARDC.

The fighting broke out on Tuesday in Ishaha, Rutshuru territory, North Kivu Province claiming the lives of nine government soldiers and three Mai-Mai militias. Four government soldiers were injured in the fighting.

According to information obtained by URN, the Mai-Mai fighters staged a surprise attack on the 3411th Regiment base in Ishasha where they looted weapons. The heavy gunfire pushed several Congolese nationals into Kanungu district via Ishasha border.

They are currently camped at Karukara trading center in Rukoora cell in Kihembe parish in Kanyantorogo Sub County. Uganda and DRC share a common border, which is separated by no man’s land stretching about two Kilometers.

Ely Maate, the Kigezi Region Police spokesperson, told URN on Wednesday evening that more refugees were still crossing into Uganda. He however, said the fighting hasn’t affected business on the Ugandan side of the border.

According to Maate, Police have teamed up with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to transfer the refugees to Matanda refugee transit camp for registration pending transfer to Rwamwanja resettlement camp.

Major Peter Mugisa, the Second Division UPDF spokesperson, says UPDF is on high alert to maintain peace in the area.




Arua school struggles to educate refugees, numbers are overwhelming

Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General may have visited Arua last week, but it might take hours for Inyau Primary School to benefit from such a high-profile visit.

Guterres, who was in Uganda for the UN-backed Solidarity Summit on Refugees, on Thursday briefly visited Inyau on his way to Imvepi Refugee Settlement, home to over 100,000 refugees from South Sudan.

Located 57km from Arua town,  Inyau primary school is a Universal Primary Education school in Ijako Village, Lugbari Parish; Odupi Sub County. Being the nearest primary school to the refugee settlement, thousands of refugee children have flocked the school for lessons.

Hosting refugees appears to have had a toll on Inyau Primary School. The school has only nine teachers taking charge of 1,642 pupils. Of these, 1,050 are refugees. This has impacted on pupil assessment leading to poor performance.

Charles Draga, the School head teacher, says the numbers are overwhelming and have stretched the meagre resources including the seven classrooms and four toilet facilities.

According to Draga, the school has 896 boys and 746 girls. Boys share two latrines while girls share four which he says are not enough. Pupils sit on the floor while others stand due to shortage of furniture.

In an interview with the school head teacher, on average each classroom has 240 pupils compared to 55 the classes are designed for. He says that at the school, the conditions have worsened due to high numbers of pupils.

Draga notes that because majority of the pupils in the school are refugees, their attention span is low since the school doesn’t provide them with lunch.

“They leave earlier than expected. Few look healthy and others look really weak because of the hunger and other conditions,” Draga says.

Even with the overwhelming pupil numbers, Inyau primary school is yet to receive additional funding from government to take care of the pupils. From the previous pupil registration, Draga says that government has been giving the school about 800,000 Shillings quarterly as subvention.

He however says that they have not received any additional funding since the influx of refugees, something that has put pressure on the available facilities including toilets.

Ahead of Guterres’ visit to the Imvepi, the school benefited from construction of four temporary toilet structures.

While the world pays attention to the refugees in different settlement camps, Draga’s attention is on managing thousands of pupils in a school with space enough to accommodate less than half the number.




UNICEF receives 8Bn to help with the growing refugee crisis in Uganda

An emergency nutrition and education response to the refugee crisis in Uganda by the UN Children’s Agency-UNICEF has received a boost of 8 Billion Shillings thanks to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

More than 950,000 refugees have crossed into Uganda since the start of the conflict in from South Sudan in December 2013, driving the refugee population in Uganda to 1.3 million people. At least 750,000 of these arrived after July 2016.

“With over 2,000 South Sudanese refugees arriving in Uganda every day, Uganda is now host to the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world,” Isabelle D’Haudt, ECHO’s Humanitarian Advisor for Uganda said in a statement issued this morning.

The ECHO contribution will enable UNICEF to provide nutritional screening for all children at refugee entry points, appropriate treatment and care for severely malnourished children, Vitamin A micro-nutrients and deworming medicine for children, and iron/folate supplementation to pregnant and breastfeeding women. The nutrition intervention is estimated to reach nearly 200,000 beneficiaries.

A recent food security and nutrition assessment conducted in the refugee hosting districts shows high malnutrition rates, stunted development due to chronic malnutrition and high levels of anemia among children and women.

Similarly, in the education sector, in both early childhood development (ECD) centers and primary schools, there are vast needs ranging from inadequate classrooms, teaching materials and latrines, among other needs.

“Considering 60 percent of all South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are under the age of 18 and 56 percent of the population in all South Sudanese refugee-hosting districts in the country are children, children are the face of the South Sudanese refugee crisis in Uganda,” Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda said.

For education, UNICEF will construct seven new ECD centres as well as upgrade 15 ECD centres from a temporary to semi-permanent state, which will provide multi-sectorial quality early childhood development to around 5,000 young children.

As at May 2017, UNICEF’s response to South Sudanese refugees and host communities in Uganda has supported more than 135,000 children with vaccinations against measles, over 70,000 children with vaccinations against polio, nearly 185,000 people with clean water and 9,000 severely malnourished children with therapeutic feeding treatment.

More than 12,000 children who have been separated from their parents and families have been supported with family tracing and reunification services, while another 85,000, children and adolescents have had an opportunity to access education and nearly 50,000 young children to access critical Early Childhood Development services.





By Alice Lubwama

The government of Uganda together with UN agencies will next month host the solidarity summit 2017 on refugees where they plan to raise 2billion dollars to support refugees and humanitarian activities in
the country.

Addressing a joint press conference in Kampala today, the prime minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda called for agent full support from all nations and development agencies in raising the 2billion to
support the humanitarian activities.

Uganda currently hosts 1.2 million refugees and expects to receive 400,000 by the end of this year.

Photo Credit: VOA News

UNHCR donates 30 vehicles to Uganda Police,Kayihura asks for motorcycles too

By Segawa Robert

The minister for relief and  refugees,Eng.Hillary onek has revealed that Uganda receives not less than 2000 refugees every day.

Speaking during the hand over 30 auto mobiles to police and the office of the prime minister by the United Nation’s High commission for Refugees in Kampala,Onek said the number has dropped from 6000 to 2000 per day. Who he said a big number was from South Sudan.

Onek however warned politicians against abusing police officers and soldiers adding that they are playing a big role in ensuring peace in the country.

The Inspector General of Police,Gen Kale Kayihura applauded UNHCR for the vehicles which he said are a timely force multiplier.

He however asked them to provide police with motorcycles to help them in patrols.

Germany Government finalizes 37Bn grant to support South Sudanese refugees

The German government has announced a grant of 10 million Euros, approximately Uganda shillings 37 Billion to support South Sudan refugees in the country.

The money will be spent on supporting improved water supply and sanitation of South Sudan refugees and host communities in North Uganda.

A Dec 22, 2016 press statement from the Germany embassy in says “the new allocation comes in addition to a pledge of 8 million Euros agreed during the intergovernmental negotiations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Uganda in October 2016”.

In total the German Government has committed 32.5 million Euros (approximately 120.3 billion Uganda shillings to support refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda in 2016.

The statement says Germany has also contributed to the UN World Food Program in Uganda and significantly increased its share in regional programs of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) supporting South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries and those internally displaced in South Sudan.

“The contribution to the UNHCR programs in the region targeting South Sudanese refugees increased from 5 million to 31 million Euros”, it says.

Uganda is now home to 1.3 Million South Sudan refugees living in settlement camps in Adjumani, Moyo and Yumbe districts. More refugees continue to arrive daily as UN chief Ban Ki Moon warned on Monday that the conflict in the restive country is progressing towards a mass atrocity.





Over 52000 South Sudanese refugees have registered entry in Uganda

Refugee flows from South Sudan into Uganda have doubled in the past ten days, growing to more than 52,000 people since violence escalated three weeks ago.

Most of the new arrivals are from Yei, a city that lies close to the borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They say they received letters warning them to evacuate the town in anticipation of conflict between rebels and government forces.

Others are from Eastern Equatorial, with smaller numbers from the capital Juba and Upper Nile state.

The refugees have also reported that armed groups operating across different parts of South Sudan are looting villages, murdering civilians and forcibly recruiting young men and boys into their ranks. They add that armed groups operating on roads to Uganda are preventing people from fleeing South Sudan.

Charlie Yaxley, the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees – UNHCR in Kampala says that many of the children registered at the reception centres have lost one, or both of their parents.

“Many took advantage of the opportunity to flee alongside Ugandan military convoys evacuating Ugandan nationals,” Yaxley said in a statement issued this afternoon.

Kenya has also reported the arrival of 1,000 refugees in the same period, while 7,000 have fled to Khartoum. In total, 60,000 people have fled the country in less than one month, bringing the overall number of South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries since December 2013 to nearly 900,000.

Both Kenya and Uganda are reporting rising cases of severe malnutrition, particularly among very young children. Those found to be suffering are being placed on food nourishment programmes to bring them back to health.

Yaxley adds the generalized collapse in the protection of civilians is also affecting many of the 250,000 refugees, mainly from Sudan, Ethiopia, and the DRC.   Aid agencies are unable to provide urgent help to needy populations.

With over 2.6 million of its citizens forcibly displaced, the world’s youngest nation currently ranks among the countries with the highest levels of conflict-induced population displacement globally. Half the population relies on humanitarian aid.