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Uganda: Population Movement South Sudan Final report (MDRUG037)

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster
The escalation of fighting in South Sudan from December 2013 onwards resulted in displacement of people, including refugees to Uganda. As the areas affected by the armed conflict continued to expand, thousands of refugees continued to be uprooted from their homes resulting into mass population displacement within South Sudan. By end of November 2014, Uganda had received more than 129,000 South Sudanese refugees. While new arrivals continue to be received and registered at transit and reception centres, the rate of newcomers has dramatically reduced. The operation focused on refugee settlements in Northern Uganda (West Nile Sub Region, Arua and Adjumani districts).

URCS, through its branches in Arua and Adjumani and with support from International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as part of response continued to provide humanitarian assistance to the newly arrived refugees in the transit centres and settlements with Restoration Family Links (RFL) activities, support which were complimented by support from the IFRC supported Emergency appeal. Through the appeal URCS rolled out hygiene promotion activities, registration of new arrivals, psychosocial support activities, provision of clean water, ambulance services, and activities preventing spread of communicable diseases with final touches on rolling out of emergency shelters.

Mainly due to the fact that the situation is now considered in the recovery phase and no longer an emergency, along with the internal problems the URCS is facing, a decision was made to stop activities in December 2014. The situation was under observation in the event the condition worsened.

Summary of response

Insecurity and violence that flared up following an alleged attempted coup in Juba degenerated into full scale armed conflict in several states of South Sudan. As the areas affected by the armed conflict continued to expand, thousands of South Sudanese people continued to be uprooted from their homes resulting into mass population displacement within South Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of the displaced crossed the South Sudan border in pursuit of safe havens within the neighbouring countries.

Uganda which shares a common border with South Sudan has received the bulk of the fleeing refugees with reported daily influx of up to 300 South Sudanese refugees at one point in 2014. An emergency appeal was jointly prepared by URCS and the IFRC to support 25,000 refugees in dire need of emergency medical care, shelter, food, water and sanitation facilities. The number of newly arrived South Sudanese refugees in Uganda was estimated by UNHCR at 129,913 on 21 November 2014.
The budget for this operation amounted to CHF 1,722,558 and the operation was scheduled to end in August 2014. A start-up DREF of CHF 170,000 was allocated from the IFRC on 11 February 2014 to support Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) in delivering humanitarian assistance to those refugees. The operation was subsequently revised in September, raising the budget to a total of CHF 2,364,704 and extending the timeframe of the programs until March 2015.

The rate of the implementation was affected by internal problems at the national society. Nonetheless activities were rolled out and some assistance was provided to the refugees in the region. The main achievements include the deployment of WatSan Kit 5’s which produced a total of more than 3,050,000 litres of clean water for the refugees. Seven new boreholes were dug and equipped, as well as seven more rehabilitated, providing clean water to more than 14,000 people. In addition 22 water tanks were deployed to the settlements for water storage for beneficiaries’ usage. NFIs which were distributed included 7,000 jerry-cans and 4,000 bars of soap as well as 5,782 hygiene dignity kits were also distributed in both Arua and Adjumani. It is important to note that latrines were also constructed in sufficient numbers to attain the SPHERE standards in the settlements managed by the URCS. The volunteers reached 7,200 people with various hygiene and sanitation messages (i.e. topics such as latrine use, refuse management, hand washing, water management) and also reached more than 8,000 people with health promotion (sessions on prevention of common diseases (i.e. Malaria, HIV AIDS, diarrhoeal diseases) messages.

This operation was halted in December 2014 following allegations of corruption and mismanagement in 2013 which made the Uganda Red Cross Society experience an increasing set of institutional challenges, resulting in continuing concerns regarding the integrity and effectiveness of URCS programmes, finance and logistics management. As a result a decision was made by IFRC, ICRC and PNS in-country to cease funding and stop their support to the Uganda Red Cross (URCS) activities. This decision led the IFRC in consultation with PNS in country to close operational activities with effect from 15 December 2014 and subsequently close and report on the operation by 31 March 2015.

The final report has however been delayed due to unremitted working advances from URCS which has now been cleared.