UN warns of overcrowding in Uganda refugee camps

Head of UN refugee agency visits Ugandan camps hosting South Sudanese refugees

UN warns of overcrowding in Uganda refugee camps

World Bulletin / News Desk

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi addressed Monday overcrowding in a visit to Ugandan camps amid protests by South Sudanese refugees

As part of a two-day trip in Uganda, Commissioner Grandi visited the Nyumanzi transit center which hosts 7,000 refugees and the Pagirinya settlement camp which houses 22,000 refugees, both located in Adjumani, in Northern Uganda, 450 kilometers (280 miles) from the capital Kampala.

Addressing journalists in Pagirinya, Grandi said: “I am really worried about this overcrowding because that’s what creates an environment for epidemics and diseases.”

In Nyumanzi, he was greeted by refugees holding signs that read: “No forceful relocation to Yumbe”, “Right to choose the place of residence”, “We need protection, not harassment” and “Stop firing tear gas at us, we are refugees”.

This was in protest to the alleged forceful relocation to the Bidibidi camp in the Yumbe district 529 km (329 miles) from Kampala in the West Nile region. Ugandan officials have said the settlement camp in Bidibidi had a capacity of 100,000 individuals.

'Appalling ' conditions in transition camp

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in Nyumanzi,18-year-old Irene Abao who has been at the transit center for a month-and-a-half described the conditions as “appalling”.

Abao revealed to Anadolu Agency that she was separated from her family, who are now in Yumbe where she has vowed not to go.

“Let them open for me the gate so I can go to South Sudan, I ran away from there to save my life, going to Yumbe is not any safer, I would rather go back home and die there,” she said.

Koma Bosco, a 37-year-old community leader at the transit center, decried the quantity and quality of food being given to the refugees.

“We survive on one meal a day, the queues are so long that when one comes for breakfast, lunch time gets you here and that’s what you get, and others miss both meals and only have dinner.”

Grandi told journalists: “There has been some reduction in the food ratio, yet when people get here they need to get fed to avoid malnutrition.”

“The flow is continuing and it’s really taxing the very limited resources available, so the conditions are difficult for the basic needs,” he added.

Funds needed

Hillary Onek, the Ugandan minister for disaster preparedness and refugees, explained that the Nyumanzi transit center was meant to hold 2,000 refugees.

“Before we moved them they were 11,000 here, so we moved 5,000 and remained with 7,000,” he said.

In order to control the situation the Ugandan government has resolved to take the refugees escaping the fighting in South Sudan straight to Yumbe.

“Humanity is suffering, please international community; respond to the South Sudan emergency situation, the same way you respond to the refugee crisis in Europe, there we are funded at 60-70 percent [of needs], here at 20-30 percent, this is not right,” he said.

So far the UNHCR has received $122 million, representing 20 percent of the $608.8 million needed for refugees from South Sudan thus straining the six countries of asylum.

The violence that broke out in South Sudan on July 7 has seen 90,000 refugees fleeing to Uganda. There are now over 930,000 refugees in the neighboring countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Ağustos 2016, 08:58