• Uganda is host to over 900,393 refugees and asylum seekers originating mainly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
• Women and children fleeing conflict from South Sudan, DRC 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.
• Nutrition and medical screening of all children continues at all active refugee entry points. Screening is conducted by UNICEF and its partner Concern World Wide, District Health teams and UNHCR partner Medical Teams International.
• 10.9 million people are currently food insecure (IPC 2, stressed and IPC3, crisis) across the country. The Central 1, Karamoja, Teso, East Central, and South Western Areas regions have reported IPC3.
• 4,515 returnees from Tanzania, mostly children and women who were recently settled in Kyaka I received non-food items including tarpaulins, jerry cans, laundry soap and aqua tabs among others with support from UNICEF and partners Uganda Red Cross Society, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Kyegegwa District Local Government.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
According to reports from UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister’s (OPM) Department of refugees, there are 698,787 South Sudanese. The influx of South Sudan refugees to Uganda continues to increase since the escalation of fighting in South Sudan in early July 2016. According to UNHCR reports, the majority of refugees arriving in Uganda originate from the Equatoria Region of South Sudan with many from Yei, Morobo, Lainya, Kajo-Keji and adjacent areas. Refugees indicate that due to security reasons they are unable to use the main roads to the border and are forced to walk up to several days in the bush to reach Uganda, usually with few belongings and limited access to food, water and other needs. Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan are directly relocated to Palorinya Settlement in Moyo district which is expected to reach its capacity soon. A new proposed settlement is Imvepi in Arua. The Bunagana entry point in Kisoro District continues to receive refugees and asylum seekers from DRC. The main reason cited by refugees for fleeing is forceful abductions and looting by the militia groups in Eastern DRC. M23 rebel activities are reported to have resumed early this year.
Refugees and host communities food security and nutrition: Preliminary findings of the UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP led food security and nutrition assessment conducted in December 2016, within the refugee settlements indicates critically high global acute malnutrition (GAM) levels in settlements receiving the bulk of the new arrivals from South Sudan such as Rhino camp at 21.5 per cent and Lobule camp at 14.9 per cent. Other settlements recorded rates above the WHO “serious” threshold including Kiryandongo, BidiBidi and Adjumani. The remaining settlements predominantly in the western region have GAM rates below 10 per cent. In comparison with findings from the same time in the previous year (December 2015); a notable deterioration of the situation is observed predominantly in Rhino camp from 10.5 per cent in December 2015 to 21.5 per cent in December 2016 and Lobule camp from 2.6 per cent in December 2015 to 14.9 per cent in December 2016. However, minimal change is observed in the other settlements. The deteriorating nutrition status in refugee hosting areas is expected to place considerable strain on local governments, already vulnerable communities and overstretched social services host refugee communities.
Prolonged Dry Spell
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report for 27 January 2017, the proportion of food secure population (Phase 1) has declined from 83 per cent in July 2016 to 69 per cent in January 2017. An estimated 10.9 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity (Phase 2, stressed and 3, crisis), of which 1.6 million are in crisis situation (Phase 3). Those in phase 3 are found in central 1 (o.58 million); Karamoja (0.12 million); Teso (0.2 million); East Central (0.38 million) and South western (0.31 million) regions. All regions have a combined food security stressed population of 9.3 million (26 per cent). The worsening situation is attributed to the effects of the 2016 La Nina event which resulted in reduced crop and livestock production. There has also been excessive sale of food resulting in reduced household stocks and high food prices. Resurgence of crop and livestock pests and disease also contributed to a reduction in production.
The Government of Uganda has responded to the deteriorating food security and nutrition situation in collaboration with partners by supporting a comprehensive technical food security assessment (qualitative) conducted jointly by technical experts from various agencies (World Bank, UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, FAO, FEWSNET) led by Office of the Prime Minister with support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF). Findings from this assessment are being finalized and will result in an updated IPC map of the situation in the country.
The Government has also been responding to the food shortages in some of the worst hit parts of country, mainly in Western Uganda through distribution of food supplies in addition to continued monitoring and tracking of the situation through its National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre (NECOC) in collaboration with partners; UNICEF, WFP, World Bank, UNDP, FAO and sector ministries.
Avian Influenza (H5N8) outbreak: Avian Influenza broke out in the last weeks of January 2017. Ministry of Health, MAAIF and partners developed the National response for avian influenza which was approved by the National UNICEF Uganda Humanitarian Situation Report - 31 January 2017Task Force. The plan focused on 15 districts surrounding the Lake Victoria region including those that have reported an outbreak. The plan lays out a number of strategies on case management, social mobilization/risk communication and division of labor among the two Ministries (Health and Agriculture). Reports from Masaka, Kalangala and Wakiso districts indicate that more domestic and wild birds are still dying. Makerere University Water reed project (MUWRP) will expand avian influenza surveillances to those areas already reporting cases and collect more samples for analysis to support the response.
Meningitis Outbreak in Nakaseke District: Since December 2016, no new cases were reported within the Army camp or neighboring districts. However, Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected from one of the patients in December 2016 and had the sample shipped to France tested positive confirming an outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis. The National Task Force recommended that stakeholders strengthen surveillance in Nakaseke and other surrounding Districts, carry out social mobilization and risk communication and train health workers in case management.
Returnees from Tanzania: In 2014, 4,500 Ugandans (including an estimated 2,050 children) were expelled from Tanzania and arrived back in Uganda. In June 2016, 4,222 expellees, who were in Sango bay camp since 2013, were moved to a temporary site at Rwentuuha health center in Kyaka 1, Kyegegwa District. Most recently, the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for Disaster Preparedness and Response coordinated partner support for the settlement of the same returnees from Tanzania in Kyaka I refugee settlement in Kyegegwa district.