DRC Steps Up Emergency Response for South Sudanese Refugees in UgandaThe latest wave of violence in South Sudan have forced more than 36,000 people to cross into Uganda and more people are expected over the next couple of days. As one of the leading agencies receiving and assisting the new arrivals the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) strives to stretch limited resources and provide timely and life-saving assistance.
DRC has had to step up its emergency response in Adjumani, Koboko and Arua districts in Uganda where thousands of refugees have been received since the fighting broke out in South Sudan in early July. Over the last few days renewed fighting has resulted in an increase of new arrivals entering Uganda via the border crossing points at Elegu, Moyo, Kuluba, Lamwo and Yumbe while others have gone directly to Kiryandongo refugee settlement in the mid-west part of the country.
“This new wave of displacement has definitely put a further strain on the already modest resources for refugee operations here and our ability to provide timely and life-saving assistance is currently stretched to the limit. If additional logistical and funds support do not come within the coming days, then the situation will be catastrophic because already we are at full capacity in terms of accommodating new arrivals in most of the transit and reception centres,” says Lilu Thapa, DRC Country Director in Uganda.
At the moment, DRC’s response to the new arrivals include providing assistance to close to 20,000 refugees who have been received at the Nyumanzi transit centre in Adjumani district. DRC is providing hot meals, building temporary shelters, providing WASH services including clean water supply, latrines and hygiene sanitation services as well as protection assistance.
In addition, DRC is also managing the Kuluba collection point in Koboko district – at the border crossing with South Sudan - as well as the Ocea reception centre in Rhino camp in Arua district. DRC is providing hot meals for all the new arrivals, providing accommodation through construction of temporary shelters, water supply, construction of latrines and bath shelters, provision of protection assistance as well as core relief items.
DRC has so far been able to construct five temporary shelters within the Ocea reception centre and to supply water at more than 80 water tap points in both Kuluba and Ocea centres. The new arrivals are currently being accommodated at the transit and reception centres before they are relocated elsewhere in various refugee settlements. More than 7,470 South Sudanese have since been relocated to Pagirinya settlement in Adjumani and others are awaiting relocation at Nyumanzi and Ocea reception centres.
“Most of the transit centres such as Nyumanzi have had to accommodate double their normal capacity. At the moment the Nyumanzi transit centre is hosting 20,000 new arrivals compared to an original capacity of 2,000 persons.
“There is urgent need to decongest the transit centres such as Nyumanzi by establishing new settlements where the new arrivals can be relocated to. This will ensure that the transit centre is not overcrowded and that we can be able to easily provide adequate life-saving assistance to the new arrivals,” said Lilu.
Additional support required in most of the transit and reception centres include: construction of additional hygiene facilities, water tanks and water trucking to villages where the new arrivals are now being relocated, provision of security lights, additional personnel to assist with the preparation of hot meals and additional kitchen consumables for hot meal preparation.
DRC while working closely with UNHCR Uganda and officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is currently doing it’s best to ensure that new arrivals in the transit centres are both safe and accommodated in dignity. In this regard, DRC is embarking on conducting regular best interest assessments to identify critical needs and sensitizing persons of concern on matters of protection, hygiene and sanitation.