The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has contributed 2 million Euros – 8 billion Uganda shillings – to UNICEF’s emergency nutrition and education response to the South Sudanese refugee crisis in Uganda.
“With over 2,000 South Sudanese refugees arriving in Uganda every day since July 2016, Uganda is now host to the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world,” said Isabelle D’Haudt, ECHO’s Humanitarian Advisor for Uganda.
“The European Union is therefore proud to support UNICEF respond to the major nutrition and education needs of children within both refugee and host communities in Uganda.”
Over 750,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Uganda since July 2016, with over 950,000 South Sudanese refugees now in the country since the beginning of the South Sudan crisis in December 2013.
“Considering 60% of all South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are under the age of 18 and 56% of the population in all South Sudanese refugee-hosting districts in the country are children, children are the face of the South Sudanese refugee crisis in Uganda,” said Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda.
“UNICEF is very grateful to the people of the European Union for this contribution, which will help us urgently scale-up our response to many children in acute need.”
A recent food security and nutrition assessment conducted in the refugee hosting districts shows high malnutrition rates, stunted development due to chronic malnutrition and high levels of anemia among children and women. Similarly, in the education sector, in both early childhood development (ECD) centers and primary schools, there are vast needs ranging from inadequate classrooms, teaching materials and latrines, among other needs.
The ECHO contribution will enable UNICEF to provide: nutritional screening for all children at refugee entry points; appropriate treatment and care for severely malnourished children; Vitamin A micronutrients and deworming medicine for children; and iron/folate supplementation to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The nutrition intervention is estimated to reach nearly 200,000 beneficiaries.
For education, UNICEF will construct 7 new ECD centres as well as upgrade 15 ECD centres from a temporary to semi-permanent state, which will provide multi-sectoral quality early childhood development to around 5,000 young children.
As at May 2017, UNICEF’s response to South Sudanese refugees and host communities in Uganda has supported:
Over 135,000 children with vaccinations against measles and over 70,000 children with vaccinations against polio; nearly 185,000 people with clean water; 9,000 severely
malnourished children with therapeutic feeding treatment; over 12,000 children who have been separated from their parents and/or families with family tracing and reunification services; over 85,000, children and adolescents to access education; and nearly 50,000 young children to access critical Early Childhood Development services.