• Uganda is host to the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. As a result, Uganda is now Africa’s leading refugee-hosting country and has jumped from the 8th largest refugee-hosting country in the world in mid-2016 to the 3rd largest, after Turkey and Pakistan, today.
• UNICEF and partners are supporting the Government respond to the increasing refugee influx from DRC. In addition to conflict, the refugees have experienced a cholera outbreak that has affected over 2,000 people, including 40 deaths.
• From January to March 2018, over 60,000 refugees have arrived from DRC. The daily average influx for refugees in March from DRC is 683, while the daily refugee arrivals is 191.
• UNICEF and Uganda Red Cross Society have reached 10,584 people with hygiene promotion messages and hand washing and tippy tap construction demonstrations in Kyegegwa and Hoima districts.
• With funding from the Government of Japan, construction of three motorised water systems has been completed in Imvepi and Ariwa settlements in West Nile providing access to safe water to 27,241 South Sudanese children and women.
• Over 2,000 unaccompanied and separated refugee children have been placed in appropriate alternative care as of March 2018.
• UNICEF’s Humanitarian Appeal for Children remains critically underfunded with a funding gap of 72 per cent.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Refugees: Uganda is home to over 1.4 million refugees including: over 1 million from South Sudan; over 275,000 from Democratic Republic of Congo; approximately 40,500 from Burundi; and close to 37,100 from Somalia; among others. Following allegations of inflation of refugee numbers, UNHCR and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Department of Refugees have initiated a verification process across all refugee settlements. Verification in Oruchinga settlement was completed, where there are currently 6,970 refugees.
UNICEF field reports indicated that the daily average of new arrivals from South Sudan was at 191 refugees in March. All the new arrivals, are settled in Omugo settlement in Rhino camp, Arua District. The refugees have fled due to fear of being caught up in fighting, hunger, and lack of access to social services, notably education and health services. UNCHR reports an increase in the number of Dinka and Nuer new arrivals to Uganda.
According to UNHCR and Office of the Prime Minister, while there is still a significant number of new arrivals from DRC, there are no longer many arrivals across Lake Albert. This is due to reports of movement restrictions on civilians in Ituri region, DRC, and bad weather on the lake. The daily average influx is 683 for the month of March. From January to March 2018, the arrival of over 60,000 Congolese refugees has exceeded planned arrivals for the year. . All new arrivals have been granted prima facie status and biometric registration is on-going. Over 2,500 unaccompanied and separated children have been identified. The unaccompanied children have been provided with appropriate care, including foster care, while all the separated children were referred for family reunification. Due to the increased DRC influx, Kyangwali refugee settlement in Hoima may reach its maximum capacity sooner than expected. As such, Madi Okollo in Arua district has been identified as a potential settlement for DRC refugees. Over, 1,300 children under five years of age were screened for nutrition in Maratatu village in Hoima District by Medical Teams International (MTI) in early March. Preliminary results show that Proxy Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) is 11.2 percent (Standard is <10 percent) and Proxy Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is 2.5 percent (Standard is <2 percent). All malnourished children were provided with appropriate treatment whereas crude mortality rates remain within limits of 0.12 deaths/10,000/day despite the cholera outbreak.
In February 2018, the UN in Uganda and government unearthed cases of gross mismanagement, fraud and corruption in the humanitarian aid operations of refugees. Government through the Office of Prime Minister has since interdicted the implicated officials and tasked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations-Uganda Police to invest the allegations. As investigations are on-going, the UN, government and development partners have developed a joint plan of action to address financial and protection-related risks in the response.
Cholera outbreak in Hoima and Kyegegwa Districts: As of 27th March 2018, there were 2,022 cases line listed (Hoima/Kyangwali – 1,910 and Kyegegwa/Kyaka II- 112) with 40 (Case Fatality Rate of 1.96 per cent) reported deaths. Field reports show a declining trend in cholera cases as seen below. This is attributed to key interventions in disease surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene, social mobilization and case management by Government together with partners UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR, URCS, Action Africa Help (AAH) and MSF.
36 per cent of all cholera cases are children under five years of age. Over 76,000 people are estimated to be at risk of cholera in Kyangwali settlement. Kyangwali is known as a cholera endemic district with many hot-spot areas around the shores of Lake Albert. Social mobilization efforts are still on-going in the affected areas.