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South Sudanese refugee numbers hit 40,000

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By FREDERIC MUSISI

Posted  Wednesday, January 15  2014 at  17:31
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Kampala:

The number of refugees fleeing the raging conflict in South Sudan into Uganda has increased to 40,000.

The Uganda Red Cross and international relief agencies said the number of Sudanese crossing to Uganda daily by road in the West Nile districts of Adjumani and Arua is worrying and has strained available relief support, with a disturbing probability of the current figures reaching 100,000 by February.

Uganda Red Cross Society head of communications, Catherine Makumbi Ntabadde said, records of entries made-so-far project that about 70 per cent of the population of new arrivals are women and children which raises some protection concerns.

“From observation and discussions conducted, a significant population of the new arrivals is in need of psychosocial support,” Ms Ntabadde said, for others, “URCS has provided phone call services to them to contact their relatives and families back home.”

She added that while numbers are increasing, the number of medical staff on ground remains low and drugs insufficient specifically at Dzaipi camp in Adjumani, and on the other hand relocation has been hampered by lack of adequate non food item--but UNHCR has indicated sending more items.

Overall, URCS said, there was critical need to step up immunisation as the influx escalates, and to strengthen hygiene and sanitation by rapidly deploying hygiene promoters at both Elegu and Dzaipi transit centres.

Disaster Preparedness junior minister, Musa Ecweru, said, together with the Office of the Prime Minister, they continue to lobby for more resources both locally and internationally.

musisif@ug.nationmedia.com