KAMPALA. The German government has offered Uganda an additional €1m (about Shs4.2b) to assist in extending humanitarian relief to South Sudan refugees and local communities in the West Nile districts of Moyo, Arua, Yumbe, Arua, Lamwo and Adjumani.
The €1m pledge is an addition to the earlier €16m (Shs68b) package that the German Foreign Affairs ministry committed to Uganda this year, running until 2019.
The German ambassador to Uganda, Albrecht Conze, said while his country “will continue its support in this challenging situation” the influx of refugees from South Sudan needs to be plugged.
“Uganda cannot take another million displaced people. We call upon Igad (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), the EAC (East African Community) and the leaders of the region to make every effort for termination of the violence and fighting in South Sudan,” Mr Conze was quoted in a statement issued by the United High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to UNHCR assessments, Uganda currently hosts 1.4 million refugees. One million are from South Sudan.
In the West Nile districts of Moyo and Adjumani, South Sudan refugees are said to have outnumbered the local population.
Other districts hosting South Sudan refugees include Yumbe, with the second largest camp in the world that hosts an estimated 285,969 refugees, Arua with 247,700, and Lamwo with 34,619.
Meanwhile, UNHCR and the German international bank for development, Kfw, last week signed a multi-year agreement of Shs15b running from next year to 2021 to support the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), an initiative designed to support the ongoing response to refugees and host communities “in a more sustainable way”.
The UNHCR’s assistant representative for programme in Uganda, Mr Ilham Abdullayev, described Germany’s assistance as valuable.
A fortnight ago, the UN Secretary General António Guterres announced that Uganda will receive $17m (Shs61.3b) from the Central Emergency Response Fund [CERF) to cater for urgent relief demands for refugees and host communities.
The $17m is from the total package of $100m (Shs360b) released from CERF to cater for emergency situations worldwide. CERF is a humanitarian fund established by the UN General Assembly 12 years ago to deliver quick funding for acute crises.
The emergency funding is meant to serve as a lease of life at a time when government and aid agencies are grappling with acute shortage of funds to extend humanitarian relief to refugees from more than five countries.
UN sources in Kampala told Sunday Monitor that the modalities of allocating the new funds “are still being worked out” but it will be mainly given to, among others, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), World Food Programme (WFP) and the children’s body, Unicef.
The UNHCR’s external relations officer, Ms Joyce Munyao, told this newspaper they had requested $674m (Shs2.4 trillion) in the year ending to fully cope with refugee influx.
“We have only received about 34 per cent of that, and what it means is we have to mostly focus on only lifesaving standards like providing food and clean water,” Ms Munyao said.
She said other issues such as the overcrowded health centres and education facilities “can always be dealt with later.”
President Museveni and Mr Guterres convened the Solidarity Summit in Kampala in June to mobilise $2b (Shs7.2 trillion) to assist both the refugees and host communities but managed to collect only Shs1.25 trillion in pledges.
However, fulfillment of the pledges remains slow.