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UNICEF seeks fund for South Sudan refugees

Staff Writer | June 20, 2017
The UN Children's Fund said Tuesday it requires $13.6 million to respond to the new influx of South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia, and another $7.3 million in Kenya.
South Sudan refugees
Africa   World Refugee Day
In a statement issued to mark the World Refugee Day, UNICEF called on the governments to adopt its six-point agenda for action to protect refugee and migrant children and ensure their well-being.

Leila Pakkala, UNICEF's Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said more than 1 million children have been forced from their homes in South Sudan, often amid horrific violence.

"Day after day, week after week, they are being received by countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Despite great efforts on many fronts, the systems in these countries are tremendously stretched," Pakkala said.

According to the UN, more than 1.8 million people have crossed into neighboring countries since violence erupted in South Sudan in December 2013.

In just one year the population of refugees in Uganda has more than doubled from 500,000 to more than 1.25 million, making Uganda now a major host to the fastest growing refugee emergency in the world.

The UN says more than 1,000 children continue to flee South Sudan on average every day in search of safety, making the region's refugee crisis a children's crisis.

The UNICEF noted that 86 percent of all refugees in Uganda are women and children.

"Uganda is now Africa's leading refugee-hosting country, having jumped from the eighth largest refugee-hosting country in the world in mid-2016 to the third largest today, after Turkey and Pakistan," it said.

Such dramatic numbers are placing excessive pressure on the receiver nation and host community resources, especially social services that are critical to children's well-being.

Pakkala praised the progressive and generous open door policy to refugees by the Ugandan government.

"This approach provides better prospects for refugee children in Uganda than in many contexts globally. The very real hope is that such a model is supported widely across countries," she added.