from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – NEIGHBOURING countries, some beset by their own conflicts and climatic crises, are bearing the strain of the instability in South Sudan.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda have generously welcomed the South Sudanese but are searing under staggering levels of underfunding, prolonged drought and severe food shortages, including food ration cuts for refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) together with 108 humanitarian and development partners, are appealing for US$1,3 billion towards supporting 2,2 million refugees and their local host communities.
The appeal comes amid a worsening economic outlook across the region as the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the effects of the war in Ukraine pushing up fuel, food prices and increased unemployment.
UNHCR urged the international community to scale up support for the millions of refugees who are unable to return home as their country continues to face a fragile peace and security environment marked by cycles of sporadic violence, and the impacts of an unfolding climate crisis.
With only a third of funding requirements met for last year’s South Sudanese refugee appeal, the five major countries of asylum in the region, named above, are among UNHCR’s most under-funded operations.
“We call for compassion and commitment to be extended to South Sudanese refugees and other people forced to flee around the world,” said Shabia Mantoo, UNHCR spokesperson.
The official added, “Timely funding is crucial to ensure adequate support and protection for the most vulnerable.”
The funding will help in meeting refugees’ most immediate needs in host countries, including for shelter, education, health and food assistance.
With women and children comprising 80 percent of all South Sudanese refugees in the region, funding for programmes to prevent and respond to gender-based violence are to be prioritised.
A nation of 11,5 million people, South Sudan, the world’s newest country, degenerated into civil war in 2013, two years after independence.
– CAJ News