Uganda Grapples with Influx of Sudanese Refugees Amid Funding Cuts

Uganda Grapples with Influx of Sudanese Refugees Amid Funding Cuts
Refugees at one of the facilities in Uganda. Photo/Courtesy

As the Sudan conflict persists, Uganda finds itself shouldering the burden of over 15,000 Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers since April 2023.

Disturbingly, nearly 40% of arrivals in 2024 alone are from Sudan, stretching resources thin in the face of significant funding cuts exceeding 30% of the annual budget for the IRC Uganda country program.

The International Rescue Community (IRC), the main health service provider in Kiryandongo refugee settlement, where all Sudanese newcomers are received, expresses deep concerns over the strained reception conditions.

"The settlement's reception centre, designed for 520 individuals, has already accommodated over 8,000 since January, with new arrivals spending up to four days in conditions intended for shorter stays." Reads the official document.

Data from IRC health clinics indicates a daily screening of 80-120 new arrivals, revealing prevalent health issues such as respiratory tract infections, malaria, and non-communicable diseases among the Sudanese refugees.

Kiryandongo also grapples with one of the highest malnutrition rates among Uganda's refugee settlements, standing at 9.1%, just below the emergency threshold set by the WHO.

Elijah Okeyo, the IRC Uganda Country Director, underscores the urgent need for resource allocation to improve reception conditions and provide essential services for Sudanese arrivals.

"Critical items such as medication, mosquito nets, sanitary pads, and mental health support are in high demand, but the IRC's capacity is limited due to funding constraints." Says Okeyo

The Sudan conflict has forced over 8 million individuals to flee, with children comprising nearly half of the displaced population.

Sudan now hosts the largest number of displaced individuals globally, posing immense challenges for neighboring countries like Uganda.

Without immediate intervention and global attention, Uganda risks being overwhelmed by the escalating humanitarian crisis originating from the Sudan conflict.