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Uganda Country Refugee Response Plan – Emergency Appeal, April – June 2022

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Uganda
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UNHCR
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Appeal Summary

This appeal has been developed by inter-agency partners involved in the Uganda Country Refugee Response. It covers a three-month period from April to June 2022 and aims to support a coordinated emergency response to an influx of 60,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan in Uganda in the first half of 2022, including 45,000 new arrivals from April to June 2022.

The emergency response involves the participation of 44 partners, including 6 UN agencies, 27 international NGOs and 11 national NGOs. Partners are appealing for USD 47.8 million.
Given the severe underfunding of the refugee response in Uganda (only USD 41 million have been received for the Country Refugee Response Plan by mid-April 2022, covering 5 percent of the total USD 804 million funding needs for 2022) additional contributions are urgently needed to address the emergency needs of new arrivals while upgrading the reception capacity and basic infrastructures in refugee settlements.

This appeal focuses on prioritized needs within the Uganda Country Refugee Response Plan (UCRRP) which originally projected the reception of 67,000 new arrivals in 2022, yet as of now over half of this planning figure has been reached by mid-April 2022.

Situation Overview and Arrival Trends

Uganda has received over 35,000 new arrivals fleeing war and persecution in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since January 2022. This is in addition to the 1.5 million refugees already hosted in the country, making Uganda Africa’s largest refugee hosting country.

New arrivals are received in a number of collection points, transit and reception centres across the country. They are registered and provided with basic protection services and humanitarian assistance pending their relocation to refugee settlements. This rapid influx of refugees has put pressure on the basic social services in the settlements where refugees are hosted, including education, food, shelter, health and nutrition centres, and WASH infrastructure.

Drastic deterioration of the situation since 28 March 2022

The conflict in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the DRC has intensified since late March 2022, triggering displacement of refugees into Uganda. New arrivals have been received through three main entry points of Bunagana in Kisoro District, Busunga in Bundibugyo District and Mponwe in Kasese District.

In Kisoro District, refugees started to arrive across the Bunagana border and surrounding areas on 28 March. The new arrivals initially stayed at the Bunagana primary school and in the market area seeking safety from the fighting and awaiting to assess the possibility to return. When the fighting intensified closer to the border, many of them moved to the existing transit centre at Nyakabande, and the new holding centre that was rapidly established there by the Government’s Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), UNHCR and partners to provide humanitarian assistance.

In the past month, a steady flow of new arrivals continued and over 15,000 people were manually registered at the transit center (TC) by 18 April 2022. Approximately 8,000 individuals who had not moved to the transit centre or holding area remained close to the border. The District Local Government (DLG) requested all new arrivals to move out of the communities surrounding the border by 18 April as the additional pressure on existing services could not be sustained, creating tension within the local community.

Level 2 registration is ongoing to decongest the transit centre and holding area by relocating the new arrivals into the settlements. OPM is registering individuals who want to move to the settlement, and the first relocation convoy took place on 21 April 2022 with the relocation of 940 refugees to Nakivale settlement.

In Kasese District, new arrivals from the DRC entered through the Kitholhu, Karambi and Mponwe subcounties. More than 3,000 new arrivals are estimated to have crossed into Kasese since 3 April 2022.
There are over 1,000 individuals at the holding centre that was rapidly set up in Bwera to provide protection and basic services to the new arrivals.

In Bubukwanga District, over 5,000 individuals crossed into Busunga on 9 April 2022 and scattered in communities along the border. By 12 April, there were 135 HH/326 individuals at the Bubukwanga transit centre. Most of these new arrivals have now been relocated to Rwamwanja settlement.

The new arrivals who have been received in the last month are in addition to nearly 20,000 others who arrived from the DRC and South Sudan since the start of the year. In February, 9,000 individuals arrived from the DRC into Bunagana, and in March 4,500 individuals arrived from South Sudan mainly through Busia and Elegu citing insecurity and flooding. New arrivals from South Sudan are continuing to cross into West Nile.

The Government of Uganda and humanitarian partners are providing emergency assistance and protection to the new arrivals. They are also working to reinforce services in receiving settlements to accommodate the new arrivals.

The situation remains volatile and unpredictable in the DRC and South Sudan with a high risk of continued forced displacement into Uganda. A life-saving multi-sectoral response is urgently required. If the current rate of arrivals continues, an estimated 60,000 people could arrive by the end of June 2022. Given the prevailing situation, UNHCR declared a Level 1 emergency for Uganda on 7 April 2022, which was soon elevated to Level 2 on 26 April 2022.

OPM and UNHCR have activated the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan and are calling for urgent financial support for the emergency response in Uganda to enable targeted and timely protection and assistance for people of concern, as well as to ensure preparedness for additional new arrivals.