Uganda + 1 more

Uganda - Population Movement (MDRUG040) Operations Update no. 4

Situation Report
Originally published
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Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

Through this Operations Update number 4, Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) seeks the approval to further extend the implementation period of the Population Movement Appeal for an end date on 31 December 2020. The extension is requested as the National Society (NS) has not been able to implement planned activities. The delays in implementation are due to internal challenges, which have since been analysed with mitigation measures identified. The main challenges which affected the implementation include;

• Financial reporting delays – due to reduced capacity/staffing issues in the NS;

• Delays in procurement of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) materials due to financial flow challenges;

• Delays in volunteer and supplier payments which affected the ability of the NS to implement activities.

Until September 2019, only URCS volunteers continued to implement community-based activities.

In addition to the above challenges, the initially planned transition from emergency appeal to the Country Operational Plan (COP) was not possible due to back donor conditions which did not allow the funds to be used in a COP. The expenditure rate for the operations is 83% with the URCS requesting timeframe extension to implement activities with the 17% balance.

The extension will allow the NS to implement activities in WASH; health; and protection, gender and inclusion (PGI). Due to funding limitations, the URCS is unable to implement outstanding activities under the shelter area of focus. While the operation has made significant impact, it is important to highlight that the needs continue to increase as some of the relief items and support provided to the households have been exhausted, making it difficult to adhere to Sphere standards, especially as the numbers of refugees are increasing weekly. The funding challenges have affected most agencies that were involved in the response, which has seen several agencies exiting and leaving significant humanitarian needs. Given this funding situation, IFRC and the NS through coordination meetings with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), UNHCR and other agencies operating in Kyegegwa refugee settlement have identified critical and targeted activities to implement until 31 December 2020.


Description of the disaster

Over one million refugees have fled to Uganda in the last two and a half years, making it the third largest refugee-hosting countries in the world1 after Turkey and Pakistan. According to the UNHCR 44% (397,638 people) of the total number of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) refugees and asylum seekers are in Uganda. As of December 2019, 116,636 refugees and asylum seekers hosted in Kyangwali. The camp continues to receive an average of 110 people per week (5 to 20 daily) with 503 people having been received and registered on 20 January 2020.

The refugees travel from DRC by boats and cross into Uganda through Lake Albert landing at Sebagoro landing site where they are screened by Medical Teams International before the UNHCR provides transportation to Kagoma Reception centre. As of the week ending on 25 January 2020, there were 700 people in the reception centre. While the influx is steadily decreasing compared to the situation in 2018/19, the humanitarian needs remain high, especially in areas of WASH; health; psychosocial support (PSS); shelter and PGI; livelihoods and basic needs, as well as environment. There has been seen a sharp decline in the number of humanitarian agencies responding to the refugee situation as they exit due to funding constraints.

The UNHCR and partners conducted a knowledge, attitudes and practice (KAP) survey in November 2019 within the refugee settlement, which indicated that the water supply is at 13 litres per person per day below the minimum Sphere standard. The same report highlighted that access and utilization of hand washing facilities (tippy taps) was at 26% and latrine coverage was at 56%, which posed a great risk of disease outbreaks. According to the American Refugee Council (ARC) that is managing the reception centre, the number of latrines currently is 1:60, which contrasts with the minimum Sphere standard of 1:20. The number of bathing facilities are inadequate with people having to wait in line to access the facilities.

The child-friendly spaces in the reception centre are not operational and PSS needs remain very high particularly among new arrivals. The limitations in energy sources within the settlement has resulted in de-forestation as woodfire is the only available option for cooking and heating in the refugee settlement. The OPM is also weary of the risk of importation of cases of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as the new arrivals are coming from the DRC. This has resulted in continued needs for screening and disinfection activities within the camp. The URCS is supporting the operation with hygiene promotion, disinfection and handwashing activities in the reception centre in Kyangwali.

According to the UNHCR, 55.9% of the DRC refugee and asylum seeker population are children. Uganda continues to maintain its open-door policy in receiving refugees. Border and protection monitoring along the Ugandan borders ensures that new refugee arrivals are provided wit