Uganda: Japan Donates U.S.$21.3 Million for Refugees
By Joyce Namutebi, 2 May 2013
The Japanese government is providing US$21.2m (about Sh55.3b) to four UN agencies to support refugee programmes in south-western Uganda plus climate related, health, nutrition, water and sanitation challenges in Karamoja.
The announcement was made by the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Kazuo Minagawa at a press conference at the Uganda media Centre in Kampala.
"The four UN agencies are providing essential goods and services for the refugees and vulnerable people in Uganda.
Given their serious humanitarian needs, the Government and People of Japan decided to contribute USD 21.2 million, one of the largest amounts of fund in the last years. I hope that with this support the UN agencies will be able to give relief to the people in hardship," he said.
The four agencies receiving the supplementary budget funds are: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which is getting US$ 1.0 million; the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) getting US$ 4.2m; the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to receive US$ 8m; and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) getting US$ 8m, a press release issued said.
UNHCR says 240,000 refugees of mixed nationalities live in Uganda, of which 60 per cent or 142,300 are from the Congo.
More than 60,000 of these were displaced since January 2012 as a result of conflict and the volatile nature of the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. "The growing number of refugees has significantly strained social service delivery for both refugees and host communities in the south-west region," the release said.
In 2012 torrential rains swept crops away in Karamoja, leaving the population not only vulnerable to severe food shortages and the attendant nutritional impediments, but also water-related challenges such as the high risk of contamination of safe water sources and inadequate access to health facilities.
The UN Resident Co-ordinator in Uganda, Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, described the Japanese funding as both significant and timely. She noted that the contribution would save lives, improve livelihoods and help increase the resilience of affected populations to external shocks.
"The United Nations in Uganda greatly values this partnership with the Japanese Government. We are committed to delivering as one UN, and we will continue to work in collaboration with the Government of Uganda and other partners to address the plight of vulnerable women, men and children, who for no fault of theirs, are facing untold hardship," she said.