The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) needs an additional $350 million to fund its operations in Uganda. The UN agency is concerned the number of refugees flocking Uganda increase every day although funding of its operations does not move in tandem.
The plea was made by Joel Boutroue the new UNHCR country representative after a tour of major camps in rural areas around the country.
Uganda is hosting an estimated 1.3 million refugees – with reception centres in Northern Uganda continuing to receive those fleeing the instability in neighboring South Sudan.
Since 2011, emergencies in the region have multiplied the financial requirements of the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees’ Uganda operation almost three times from USD 76.5 million in 2011 to nearly USD 209.9 million in 2014 owing to the influx of refugees into Uganda from neighboring countries.
This figure rose by $181.1 million in 2015 alone.
The UN agency in March started lifesaving protection and assistance services for over 125,000 South Sudanese refugees.
Joel Boutroue said, ”We are focusing on women and children first then we have other plans to construct more health facilities and resettlements.”
Refugees in camps still face challenges of access to safe water, quality education and food.
Boutroue said, ”Women and children in the camps still lack basic requirements and most are not yet counted.”
UNCHR believes an additional $350 million in funding will help offset many of the challenges faced by refugees and their host communities.
Boutroue revealed that UNHCR has already secured $100 million and is looking for $350 million dollars.
He also applauded Uganda for the hospitality it has shown toward refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Story by Aminah Nabukenya