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Humanitarian crisis in Uganda as thousands flee S. Sudan violence

A South Sudanese refugee girl stands near temporary shelters at the Tzaipi refugee camp in Adjumani, 471 km north of Uganda's capital Kampala, January 17, 2014. — Reuters pic

JUBA, Feb 20 — As refugees are fleeing from South Sudan’s violence, Uganda currently faces the largest refugee crisis in Africa, a humanitarian agency said yesterday.

Uganda country representative from Lutheran World Federation, Jesse Kamstra said there was complete lack of international attention on the unfolding humanitarian crisis in there.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced last week that more than 1.5 million people have now been forced to flee the country and seek safety in neighbouring countries.

This makes South Sudan Africa’s largest refugee crisis and the world’s third-largest after Syria and Afghanistan with less attention and chronic levels of underfunding.

Women and children continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, making up 86 per cent of refugees arriving in Uganda.

Currently Uganda is hosting a population of 740,000 refugees from South Sudan and majority of them have come since July last year.

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 but tensions between its many different ethnic groups quickly surfaced and civil war broke out in 2013.

Uganda is widely recognised as having progressive and forward-thinking refugee and asylum policies.

Upon receiving refugee status, refugees are provided with small areas of land in villages integrated within the local host community.

This pioneering approach is said to enhance social cohesion and allow both refugees and host communities to live together peacefully. — Reuters

The Malay Mail Online