Uganda: severe budget shortage for the refugees’ response

Two children in the Nyakabande transit centre in Kisoro, Uganda. Two children in the Nyakabande transit centre in Kisoro, Uganda. UNHCR/Esther Ruth Mbabazi

29 November 2022

At the end of November, UNHCR’s Head of Global Communications made a statement concerning the urgent need for funds in Uganda to support refugees. 

On the 29th of November, the Head of Global Communications of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams appealed to the international community for a strong fund support intended for Uganda. Financial aid is extremely urgent at this moment in order to strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to the new influx of refugees arriving in the nation. As stated by Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams, currently refugees in Uganda are “self-sufficient”: “I was struck by how these settlements have become indistinguishable from host communities. […] health facilities serve both refugee and host communities, and several district-level water services have been transitioned to national systems.”

This extreme situation is particularly caused by the fact that, in the midst of an Ebola outbreak, UNHCR lacks the resources to buy enough everyday products for refugee families and to adequately equip health facilities to deliver the most basic of services. In some healthcare facilities like the Bujubuli Health Center in Kyaka II, there are patients sleeping on the floor because the hospital does not have enough beds. The situation in schools is not different: teachers work in double shifts to be able to support more than 4000 students. 

Overall, Uganda is one of UNHCR’s most underfunded operations, and due to this lack of funds, the organization was forced to reduce its life saving assistance. The UN and the international community must recognize the seriousness of the situation and act as soon as possible.

 

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by Alexia Tenneriello

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