UN agency, partners appeal for $1.2B for refugees in eastern Africa

2.3M South Sudanese refugees, local communities in 5 countries need humanitarian aid.

UN agency, partners appeal for $1.2B for refugees in eastern Africa

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and its development partners on Friday appealed for a $1.2 billion funding to address the refugee crisis in eastern Africa.

In a statement, UNHCR said the money is needed to deliver humanitarian assistance and protection to 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees and local communities in five countries – Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda.

“Funding is urgently needed to help these host countries to provide food, shelter, and access to essential services such as education and health care,” the statement said.

South Sudan continues to grapple with sporadic violence, chronic food insecurity and the devastating impact of major flooding after nearly a decade of conflict and despite efforts toward implementing a peace accord.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also strained people's resources, significantly reducing their ability to sustainably meet their needs, according to the UN.

It noted that while asylum countries have kept their doors open for refugees, they are facing similar challenges from the climate crisis and the pandemic.

The governments in the five countries of asylum, the refugee agency said, will be supported in their efforts to integrate South Sudanese refugees in national systems for social service delivery.

“Refugees and local communities will receive help to boost their resilience by identifying and diversifying opportunities to earn a living,” it said.

“This is vital against a backdrop of chronic underfunding for food provision, which continues to result in regular ration cuts.”

UNCR said it is increasing the use of clean energy and making other green investments to better protect the environment and to minimize the impacts of the climate crisis.

At only 21%, the South Sudan refugee crisis, the largest on the African continent, was also one of the least funded in 2021, according to the UN.

The UNHCR called for global solidarity and support for refugees in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Sudan, “which have generously welcomed South Sudanese refugees.”