World Vision urges more support for growing refugee population

20 Jun 2017 by World Vision New Zealand
World Vision urges more support for growing refugee population
World Vision is calling for more countries to share responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees who have been forced to flee their homes.

Almost 900,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Uganda. About half a million of the refugees are children. 

World Vision estimates 100 unaccompanied South Sudanese children cross the border into Uganda each day, and the numbers are increasing. Many of them have seen family members killed in front of them.

Once they arrive, they are safe from war but vulnerable to other forms of violence. World Vision staff say child marriage is rampant in Uganda’s refugee settlements, with many vulnerable girls seeing it as a necessary means of survival. 

“World Vision is facilitating interim foster care for these unaccompanied children,” says Gilbert Kamanga, the National Director for World Vision Uganda. 

“Suitable refugee families are identified as temporary guardians and we continue to monitor the child’s well-being.” 

So far, more than 2,700 children have been placed with suitable refugee families willing to act as guardians.

Uganda has some of the most progressive refugee policies in the world. It has kept its borders open, is providing land grants to each refugee family, allowing individuals the right to work and establish businesses and access public services like health care and education.

“The international community should take note of these measures and move to share responsibility for this crisis immediately,” says Gilbert Kamanga. 

“Those of us responding only have 15-16 per cent of the funds we need. As a consequence, the Ugandan Government and World Food Program recently had to cut already limited food rations.”

He said the international community must help Uganda share the burden by looking at its own refugee policies, and committing urgent funding to address the root causes of the conflict.

“It's a mistake to ignore this crisis because it involves conflict and politics - we all need to see that children are at the centre of the picture.”

He said the perfect opportunity to do this was at the Uganda Solidarity Summit on the 22- 23 June.

There are 21.3 million refugees across the globe, and over half of them are children. Every day, war and conflict force thousands more to flee their homes. 

The ongoing conflicts in Syria and South Sudan account for the largest number of refugees. 

Countries neighbouring these war-torn countries have been put under immense pressure as refugees seek safety and shelter their borders. 

Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Uganda are hosting particularly large numbers of refugees.

Chloe Irvine, Head of External Affairs, World Vision New Zealand  |  ‚Äč+64 22 340 4271