DESPERATION: A UN official helps repatriate Rwandan refugees across the Rwanda/Congo border in Rubavu. Picture: AFP on BDLive
By Fred Ojambo, Bloomberg on Business Day Live
KAMPALA— The United Nations released $18 million on Friday to Uganda to support the cost of hosting refugees fleeing regional conflicts, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.
The aid from UN Central Emergency Response Fund will cater for at least 512,000 refugees, with 30% of the funding going to hosting communities, the UN refugee agency’s Ugandan office said by e-mail on Friday from the capital, Kampala.
At least 112,000 refugees arrived in Uganda in 2015 fleeing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Somalia and Burundi, making it the country with the third-largest numbers of refugees being hosted in Africa and the eighth in the world, the agency said.
Uganda’s situation is part of a global trend where the number of refugees reached 20.1 million in mid-2015, the first time it’s hit that level since 1992, the UN said last month.
The eastern part of Congo, bordering Uganda, has been roiled with instability for decades and is home to rebel groups from Uganda and Rwanda.South Sudan, to Uganda’s north, has experienced violence since December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of an attempted coup, a charge he denies.
Burundi, which has 6% of the world’s nickel reserves, descended into violence in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid to run for re-election, which he later won.