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UGANDA, UNHCR NEED 8.0 BILLION USD TO CARE FOR 1.2 MILLION REFUGEES OVER NEXT FOUR YEARS

KAMPALA, The government of Uganda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) require 8.0 billion US dollars to continue providing services to more than 1.2 million refugees and their host communities in Uganda over the next four years, or about two billion USD a year, says Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

He told the media here Tuesday that President Yoweri Museveni and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would jointly host a summit on the refugee issue here on June 22 and 23 to drum up financial contributions to Uganda to support its refugee operations.

More than half of the 1.2 million refugees currently in Uganda are from South Sudan and, according to the UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), an averahe of 2,000 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda daily over the last six months.

The UNHCR and OPM estimate that a further 400,000 refugees will arrive in Uganda before the end of the year, mainly because of the "recurring cycle of instability and insecurity" in South Sudan, the world's youngest nation whose people have been denied enjoying the fruits of independence by a brutal conflict fought on tribal lines.

Ruganda said the summit would be an opportunity for Uganda to reinforce existing partnerships and build new ones.

Uganda, according to the Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hilary Onek, spent 150 million USD last year to provide, among others, security, education, health and sanitation facilities to refugees and host communities. In addition, the UN system spent another 150 million for the same purposes.

More money is needed to restore the broken infrastructure and degraded environment resulting from the refugee influx. With 1.2 million refugees within its border, Uganda is among the top refugee hosting countries in the world.

The UN resident co-ordinator, Rosa Malango, stressed the need to relieve the host communities of the pressure presented by refugees, especially in the West Nile region of northern Uganda, which has high poverty levels and a low Human Development Index. Uganda should not carry the burden of the Africa refugee crisis alone, Malango said.

Foreign affairs state minister, Henry Okello Oryem said a regional effort under the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-nation Horn of Africa grouping, was being pursued to try to end conflict in South Sudan.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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