Integral Responds to the South Sudan Refugee Crisis in Northern Uganda

Integral Alliance has launched a Disaster Response for the worsening refugee crisis in northern Uganda. Eleven Integral Members* have opted into this joint response, with a further seven considering how they can be involved …

Photo: World Renew 2017. Supported by Integral Members World Renew and Tear Australia, construction crews build communal latrines at Bidibidi camp in northern Uganda. Bidibidi was a small town just six months ago but now houses more than 250,000 refugees and has become one of the largest refugee camps in the world. 

Increasing numbers of South Sudanese are fleeing to northern Uganda to escape escalating violent conflict in their country. A total of 24,277 South Sudanese refugees were received in Uganda between the 25th and 31st January 2017 alone. The Human Rights Commission have condemned violations in South Sudan, calling for swift action to avert genocide.

The total number of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda is now approaching 700,000 people – UNICEF estimate that 64% are children.** Malnutrition is rising both among the refugees and their host communities. The advent of the rainy season in early March is likely to bring with it significant increases in mortality due to malaria.

Prior to the launch of this disaster alert, Integral hosted a pre-alert teleconference in December 2016. This call mapped where Members are working and established what resources were available. Staff on the ground have also met together in Uganda to strengthen their relationships with one another and identify where they can collaborate.

Jackie Koster, World Renew’s Disaster Response Manager for East and Southern Africa, says: “The level of general collaboration in this response has been remarkable to witness.  The Office of the Prime Minister has shown real leadership and organisations are sharing information and material freely, all aiming to avert a major humanitarian catastrophe.”  

“Being able to come together as Integral Members in Kampala only furthers that spirit of collaboration, as we work to link the efforts of those on the ground with the efforts of those raising the profile of this major humanitarian emergency. This cooperation is very important because this is a chronically under-profiled disaster situation considering the scale of the needs.”

The decision to make this an Integral response was made on a teleconference with 16 Members present on 7th February. Responding Members committed to maximising their direct disaster response now, as well as considering their longer term approach, especially in the area of livelihoods.    

Integral Members Food for the Hungry (USA), World Renew (USA and Canada) and ZOA (The Netherlands) are each carrying out livelihood programming across different camps. Medical Teams International is working with UNHCR and the World Food Programme on health and nutrition in reception centres in the same camps and other locations. Other Integral Members are supporting local partners and preparing fundraising campaigns to support the operational work of their fellow Integral Members.  

Integral Members will continue to use the Integral online platform to share photos and stories, information and plans with each other.

* Cedar Fund (Hong Kong), Food for the Hungry (USA), Medical Teams International (USA), Tear Australia, Tear Netherlands, Tearfund Belgium, Tearfund New Zealand, Tearfund Switzerland, Tearfund UK,  World Renew (USA and Canada), ZOA (The Netherlands).

** Source here and here