To protect and assist 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees in the region this year, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, together with 108 humanitarian and development partners, is today appealing for US$1.3 billion. The funds will go towards supporting South Sudanese refugees and their local host communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
The appeal comes amid a worsening economic outlook across the region as the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine have pushed up fuel and food prices and increased unemployment. Host countries that have generously welcomed South Sudanese refugees are bearing the strain of the crisis amid staggering levels of underfunding, prolonged drought, and severe food shortages, including food ration cuts for refugees.
Launching the South Sudan Refugee Response Plan today, UNHCR is urging the international community to scale up support for the millions of refugees who are unable to return home as their country continues to face a fragile peace and security environment marked by cycles of sporadic violence, and the impacts of an unfolding climate crisis. Four years of unrelenting floods have inundated two-thirds of the country, damaging tens of thousands of people’s houses, farmland and livestock.
This support will be crucial in meeting refugees’ most immediate needs in host countries, including for shelter, education, health and food assistance. With women and children comprising 80 per cent of all South Sudanese refugees in the region, funding for programmes to prevent and respond to gender-based violence need to be prioritized.
The appeal also aims to provide digital cash assistance, and other resilience-enhancing initiatives such as access to finance and training, to help refugees and local communities generate income, supplement their needs and live in dignity.
Host governments will also be supported to strengthen the asylum space and further protect the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as boost the prospects for long-term solutions. This includes improved registration and documentation and advancing ongoing efforts to include refugees in national social protection systems and enhance their access to basic services, all of which helps to better prepare refugees for eventual return.
Interventions to increase the use of clean and sustainable energy in refugee hosting communities will also be strengthened, to mitigate environmental impacts.
With only a third of funding requirements met for last year’s South Sudanese refugee appeal, the five major countries of asylum in the region – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda – were among UNHCR’s most under-funded operations.
We call for compassion and commitment to be extended to South Sudanese refugees and other people forced to flee around the world. Timely funding is crucial to ensure adequate support and protection for the most vulnerable.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).