Regionals
Refugees overwhelm UNHCR
Publish Date: Jan 06, 2014
Refugees overwhelm UNHCR
Hundreds of Ugandans and other nationals queuing at Elegu International Border Immigration point to be cleared to travel to Juba, the South Sudanese capital, despite the war in the country
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Dennis Ojwee

The heavy influx of the South Sudanese refugees into Uganda has overwhelmed organisations that give humanitarian support at the border entrance points.


The issue was raised during an emergency security meeting between the Police and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representatives in Adjumani district on Friday.

Abraham Saga, the officer in charge of Police operations at Elegu border post, said they asked UNHCR to declare their ability so that if it is not enough, the Government of Uganda finds ways to help.

A refugee from Jonglei State, Char Koch, said he was not sure when they would be transported to their final settlement centres as they had not been registered since they entered Uganda Elegu last Thursday.

He said refugees who entered on Friday morning had been taken to Adjumani before those who arrived at the border earlier, adding that they had with them sick and old mothers.

Koch said they had no food, water, shelter and medicine and were exhausted because of walking long distances. Saga, who rushed to the border post on Thursday, said they had resolved to request the Inspector General of Police for quick intervention, especially the sending of Police trucks to ferry thousands of refugees from Elegu to the national gazetted reception centre at Pakele in Adjumani.

According to Interpol in South Sudan, Saga said, nearly 10,000 refugees had entered Uganda by Thursday and about 25,000 more were expected at Elegu by last Friday.

The northern regional Police commander, Simon Peter Wafana, said there were only five trucks provided by the UNHCR to transport the huge number of refugees from Elegu to Pakele reception centre in Ndzaipi sub-county, Adjumani district, 31km from Elegu.

“Sanitation and water, shelter, food and medical care are lacking and should be put in place before a disease outbreak occurs,” Wafana said, adding that the UNHCR staff were so few on the ground.

Titus Jogo, the UNHCR refugees’ desk officer in Adjumani, admitted that the humanitarian situation had gone out of hand and must be addressed as soon as possible.

“Let’s continue to join hands as much as possible to avoid further humanitarian catastrophes here at Elegu,” said Jogo.

He suggested to the meeting that one way of reducing the problems was for UNCHR to increase the number of trucks that are ferrying the refugees.

Jogo said the UNCHR team on the ground was negotiating with the truck drivers on transit via Elegu, but the owners were hiking the hire fees to unreasonable amounts.

“The UNHCR is in charge of the funds and logistics, while the World Food Programme supplies food to the reception centres and camps in Adjumani, Arua and Kiryandongo,” Jogo added.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Buliisa, Nebbi get safe drinking water
Water shortages in Bulisa and Nebbi districts are over following the commissioning of two water projects worth sh333m....
Sebei sub region, Actionaid start campaign to shame corrupt officials
Sebei Sub Region last week started the second leg of the anti-Corruption campaign to mobilize communities to name and shame embezzlers of public funds and resources in Eastern Uganda....
Enrollment officers petition Aronda over ID funds
Enrollment officers in Katakwi district have petitioned the National Coordinator of the National Identity Card Project, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima to investigate the district registrar for allegedly soliciting funds from enrollment officers in exchange for jobs....
Activists call for laws that protect children
Activists want by-laws against those who violate children''s rights. The activists identify defilement as the biggest vice and statistics indicate that about 5 out of 10 girls are defiled monthly....
FOWODE embarks on mentoring women in politics
Forum for Women in Democracy will set up a National Leadership Advisory Desk (LADS) to prepare women for key leadership positions....
EU, ActionAid in fight against child abuse
The European Union has injected sh 3 billion to empower children and their communities with skills to tackle harmful practices and violence against children in Eastern Uganda....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter