UNICEF Uganda Humanitarian Situation Report - 28 February 2017

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 16 Mar 2017

Highlights

· The arrival rate for South Sudanese refugees into Uganda is still high at almost 2,000 per day.

· Women and children fleeing conflict from South Sudan, DR Congo and Burundi are in desperate need of critical health services, clean water, education, and support to help them deal with the extreme stress they have experienced. However, UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal is only 6 per cent funded to date.

· Over 20,000 South Sudanese children have been screened for acute malnutrition at active refugee entry points by UNICEF and Concern World Wide, District Health teams and UNHCR partner Medical Teams International (MTI), of which 394 have been admitted for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment.

· Since the beginning of the year, 8,528 unaccompanied and separated children were reached with appropriate alternative care services, including reunification and fostering.

· Cumulatively, 38,003 children have been immunized against Polio and 27,635 have received Vitamin A supplementation in all refugee districts.

· Radio messages were played in different dialects (Dinka, Arabic, English, Aringa and Madi) in South Sudanese refugee settlements in an effort to mobilize for children’s return to school at the start of the term in early February.

SITUATION IN NUMBERS

443,309 Refugee children (<18 years) from South Sudan (OPM and UNHCR reports as of 28 February 2017)

129,600 Refugee Children (<18 years) from DRC (OPM and UNHCR as of 01 February 2017)

24,686 Refugee children from Burundi (OPM and UNHCR as of 01 February 2017)

UNICEF HAC appeal 2017 US$ 52.87 million required Funding Gap 94%

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

Refugees

Uganda is hosting 1,064,043 refugees as of 01 February 2017, according to reports from UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) Department of refugees. The number of refugees coming to Uganda from South Sudan remains very high, and there are currently over 443,000 refugee children from South Sudan. As of 21 February 2017,
Imvepi settlement is now hosting new refugees as the Palorinya, Yumbe and Pagirinya settlements have reached their capacity. According to UNHCR reports, refugees arriving in Uganda – mainly women and children – continue to report general insecurity, limited access to food and basic services, violence, incidents of rape and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) of women and girls, arbitrary detention, indiscriminate killings, and destruction of property by armed forces, as reasons for fleeing their homes in South Sudan. Refugees indicate that due to insecurity they are unable to use the main roads to the border, and are thus forced to walk in the bush to reach Uganda many for several days and usually with few belongings and limited access to food, water and other needs.

The Burundi Minister for Home Affairs was in Uganda in February to appeal to the Burundian refugees in Nakivale settlement and the Isingiro district to return home. There is reportedly increased fighting in the DR Congo, although, this has not resulted in a major escalation of Congolese fleeing the country into Uganda. The average daily influx from DR Congo is 40 persons, but it has been as high as 81 (as observed at the beginning of February). The main reasons for people leaving include night attacks by armed groups leading to injuries and deaths, SGBV, and forceful recruitment of youth into armed groups.

Refugees and host communities food security and nutrition: Findings from the UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP led food security and nutrition assessment conducted in December 2016, within refugee settlements indicates critically high global acute malnutrition (GAM) levels in settlements receiving the bulk of the new arrivals from South Sudan. GAM rates in Rhino Camp are currently 21.5 per cent and 14.9 per cent in Lobule camp. Other settlements recorded rates above the WHO “serious” threshold (above 10 per cent), including Kiryandongo, BidiBidi and Adjumani. The remaining settlements predominantly in the western region have GAM below 10 per cent. In comparison with findings from the same time in the previous year (December 2015), a notable deterioration of the nutrition situation is observed in Rhino camp from 10.5 per cent to 21.5 per cent and Lobule camp from 2.6 per cent to 14.9 per cent. Minimal changes are observed in the other settlements.

Prolonged Dry Spell

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report for 27 January 2017, the proportion of food secure population (IPC 1) has declined from 83 per cent in July 2016 to 69 per cent in January 2017. The the recent Food Security and Nutrition Assessment (FSNA), supported by UNICEF with the OPM, UNHCR and WFP indicates an overall stable and improved under-five nutrition situation, although there are critical hotspots for urgent action and close monitoring. The ongoing rains will keep Uganda out of the ‘drought’ situation, but the time lag before the next harvest is still quite long, and the already current high levels of stunting and anaemia in many of assessed areas (24 most vulnerable districts) may require continuous attention by actors. In Karamoja, there have been two weeks of occasional rainfall in the region from mid-February. This is beginning to improve the status of pasture and water for animals. Household level farming activities are seen to be taking shape with few households beginning to prepare their lands for the next planting season. If the current rainfall regime is maintained, there is hope that the livelihood status of the communities will gradually improve.

Humanitarian leadership and coordination

The OPM’s Department of Refugees and UNHCR are the lead coordinators in the refugee response in the country. Similarly, the OPM’s Minister’s Department of Disaster Preparedness coordinates and leads the country’s humanitarian response efforts, primarily through a National Disaster Risk Reduction Platform. The National Platform and District Disaster Management Committees coordinate responses to disasters caused by natural hazards and internal displacement caused by floods or conflict. Humanitarian response to disease outbreaks is coordinated through a multi-stakeholder National Task Force co-chaired by the Ministry of Health and WHO.District led epidemic disease control task forces support local level containment of disease outbreaks. UNICEF provides technical support to these humanitarian coordination mechanism for water and sanitation and hygiene (WASH), Child Protection, Health, Nutrition and Education.