Refugees fleeing South Sudan overwhelming Uganda resources

World Today

Two South Sudanese refugee boys carrying their belongings arrive at a refugee collection center in Palorinya, Uganda. (AP Photo/Justin Lynch)

The United Nations has more than doubled its appeal for aid to help refugees in Uganda. More than 800,000 South Sudanese have crossed the border and officials say there’s simply not enough resources to support them.

CGTN’s Soni Methu spent time with the relief mission in northern Uganda.

Refugees fleeing South Sudan overwhelming Uganda resources

The United Nations has more than doubled its appeal for aid to help refugees in Uganda. More than 800,000 South Sudanese have crossed the border and officials say there's simply not enough resources to support them. CGTN's Soni Methu spent time with the relief mission in northern Uganda.

The food crisis in South Sudan has created an aid crisis across the border in neighboring Uganda. Officials estimate thousands of people stream into Uganda daily to flee fighting and starvation back home.

“There’s no fighting here in northern Uganda. But then there’s little else either,” said Grace Achola, who says that she and her five children are starving.

“We have no water here, it’s rocky. For food we only eat beans. The ration we use it to trade for other needs, but it has been a month now since we received any,” Achola said.

Relief efforts are simply overwhelmed. The U.N. had sought around $250 million from donors in 2016 but only received 40 percent of pledged donations. The U.N. expected around 300,000 refugees would enter Uganda throughout 2017. Almost half that number has come through in less than a month. Rations have been cut. Children are showing signs of malnutrition. Tensions with the local community are rising. Uganda already has done far more than any other nation to help. But it’s feeling the strain. And almost a third of Uganda’s population faces food shortages.

“To settle refugees in this area, you also have to figure out how to help the host communities, because that will encourage peaceful co-existence between refugees and the citizens in that area,” Solomon Osakam with the Office of the Prime Minister said.

The U.N. is aiming to collect around $560 Million in 2017. Uganda’s also hoping its neighbors will push for peace in South Sudan, to stem the flow of refugees.