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Monday, June 5, 2023

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Government needs Shs3 trillion to cater for refugees 

The Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek, has revealed that the country is in need of Shs 3 trillion to cater for the surging number of refugees pouring into the country.

Onek made the appeal during a meeting with representatives of donors at his office in Kampala over the weekend.

Onek said that the refugee crisis remains grossly underfunded yet the refugees are fighting for the limited resources with the locals.

“When we see these refugees coming in now, and there is a requirement for settling them, including accommodation, feeding them continually, looking after their health and the education bit, it requires about $804m (about Shs three trillion),” Onek said.

The Minister added that since the beginning of this year, Uganda has been having an influx of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through the Bunagana border post into Kisoro District, and they expect more.

According to Onek currently, the country is hosting a total of about 1.5m refugees.

Onek said the refugee burden must be shared and called upon the international community to support Uganda.

“I encourage the donors to come up and support Uganda to meet our corrective obligations to the refugees and host communities because we are exceeding preceding numbers,” he said.

He added that, “In the emergence appeal, we got a pledge of about $530m (about Shs2 trillion). Uganda only received $1.5m (about Shs5b) in the account that we opened. The other countries gave their monies to NGOs that were operating in Uganda so that they would manage refugee programmes here. We never received the money,”

He further noted that the Shs5billion they received from China and India was used to develop infrastructure such as schools and health centers in the refugee settlements.

Uganda has over the last two months seen an upsurge in the number of Congolese refugees following renewed fighting between M23 rebels and the Congolese government soldiers.

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