UNHCR Funding Shortage As South Sudanese Flee to Uganda
The United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR) is appealing to donors as it warns of a funding shortage for South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis.
In a joint statement with the Ugandan government on Wednesday, the organization admitted it is overwhelmed by the number of South Sudanese refugees entering Uganda. The situation is so poor now the agency says it has had to ration food and cash assistance by up to 50 percent.
Renewed violence in South Sudan has forced more refugees to flee the country. Uganda is home to more than 200,000 refugees from the country and the numbers are now posing a problem for an already-overstretched UNHCR.
“Low levels of funding, together with a large number of new arrivals fleeing to Uganda from South Sudan since 7 July, has left the refugee response with no choice but to re-prioritise their focus on those refugees in greatest need,” said Charlie Yaxley, associate external relations officer of UNHCR in Kampala.
She says those most vulnerable will continue to receive full rations – including the elderly, orphans, the sick and those suffering from malnutrition. However, the organization is calling on donors to help the UNHCR to provide full rations to all refugees who need its help.
Mike Sackett, the UN World Food Programme’s Acting Country Director for Uganda, says the decision to cut rations was difficult to make.
“We have done everything we can to avoid this, but we have been left with no option but to reduce food assistance for many of the refugees in Uganda in order to stretch available resources and prioritise the most vulnerable new arrivals,” he said.
WFP needs around $7 million per month to provide life-saving supplies to refugees in Uganda but the cost is increasing as the population grows. It’s estimated the body will need an additional $20 million to restore full rations for the rest of the year.
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