As the announcement of 1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda was made today by the United Nations (UN), Ranjan Pudyal, Oxfam South Sudan’s Country Director, said:
“As long as the senseless, costly and brutal war in South Sudan continues, its people will continue to flee to find protection, food, water and shelter. More than anything they need peace at home. South Sudan’s neighbouring countries and the international community must honour their commitments to get South Sudan’s warring parties back to the negotiating table. Until then, it will not be safe for South Sudanese refugees to return home, forcing them to depend on aid across the border.”
Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam Uganda’s Country Director, said:
“Uganda’s open-door policy for refugees has provided protection for one million South Sudanese. This is the third-largest population of refugees in the world. Yet Uganda is one of the most under-funded host nations. If the international community does not increase support to Uganda’s refugee response it could quickly buckle and fail. Donor governments must urgently release funds critical in supporting refugees with life-saving aid, and long-term support for those who have already fled their country.”
The South Sudan refugee response in Uganda and across the region is severely underfunded. In Uganda, of the UN appeal for $673 million this year, only 17 per cent has been received so far.
In late May, the Australian Government contributed $5 million to the United Nations refugee agency to support refugees in Uganda and this year it has contributed $27 million in humanitarian assistance to address the crisis in South Sudan. In order to bring a long term end to the crisis, Oxfam is calling for the Government to use all diplomatic channels to put pressure on all the warring parties in South Sudan to end the conflict.
Donations to support Oxfam’s emergency responses in South Sudan and around the world can be made online at oxfam.org.au/hunger or by calling 1800 034 034.
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Notes to editors:
Strong photos and video footage, including from a drone, of South Sudanese refugees in Bidi Bidi refugee camp, Uganda, are available: https://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/pages/search.php?search=%21collection33164&k=8dcb46b74a
At the recent Refugee Solidarity Summit the Government of Uganda appealed for $2 billion to meet the humanitarian and development needs of all refugees in the country. Less than a quarter was pledged towards this, with just over $431 million committed.
The vast majority of refugees – 86 per cent – are women and children who need specific support to keep them safe from rape, beatings, torture, hunger and abandonment. Uganda is also a host country for refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and the Central African Republic.
There are almost two million internally displaced people in South Sudan. One in three people have been forced from their home since December 2013. Almost six million people are in need of emergency aid. Oxfam is working from 10 bases across the country to get food, water and hygiene items to people. In South Sudan, Oxfam has provided regular emergency food distributions to over 415,000 people since February.
In the past year, Oxfam has helped more than 600,000 people across the country with food and water distributions and longer-term aid. Oxfam has been assisting populations in South Sudan since the 1980s, providing food security and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance.