With over 1 million refugees from South Sudan now in Uganda, Plan International is calling for increased support from the international community to meet children’s needs.
Last month the number of South Sudanese refugees who have fled to Uganda exceeded 1 million for the first time. With thousands more arriving each day, Plan International is calling for increased support and awareness from the international community to ensure children’s needs are met.
Over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 refugees from South Sudan have been arriving in Uganda every day to escape the food crisis and the civil war that has gripped the country since 2013. More than 85% of this number are women and children.
CHILDREN AT RISK
A large number of the children who have arrived in Uganda have witnessed barbaric violence while many of them have been recruited by armed groups. In addition, many girls have been subjected to sexual abuse. As a result there is a huge need to provide children with emotional support and protection to overcome the distress they have experienced.
Uganda was one of the first countries to sign the 2016 New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, a commitment to provide a comprehensive response to refugee crises. Unfortunately, with refugees still arriving in their thousands, the amount of aid the country is able to deliver is increasingly falling short.
Uganda requires €566 million to respond to the scale of the South Sudanese refugee crisis this year. So far, only 21% of this figure has been received. This funding shortfall is significantly impacting the ability of organisations to deliver life-saving aid and basic services.
“Critical gaps exist in food, water, sanitation, education, early childhood services, gender-based violence and youth skills, to name just a few,” says Rashid Javed, Country Director for Plan International Uganda.
“The protracted refugee crisis demands that all key stakeholders coordinate and align their efforts to ensure that the needs of all refugees and host communities are met,” says Javed.
RESPONDING TO CHILDREN’S NEEDS
Plan International has been responding to the influx of South Sudanese refugees to Northern Uganda since 2014. Currently our work supports over 35,000 refugees through child protection, early childhood care, water and sanitation programmes and the provision of critical aid items.
We have recently developed a 3-year response plan to the crisis that will focus on supporting the peaceful co-existence of refugee and host communities, increasing access to social services and helping refugees to become self-sufficient.
“This will be achieved by meeting basic emergency needs with interventions that enhance livelihoods and strengthen the resilience of refugee communities,” says Rashid.