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EU announces EUR 2 mn assistance for refugees and host communities in Uganda

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing welcomed the European Union’s continued humanitarian support.

IOM Last Updated at 28 Jul 2018, 02:07 IST Bangladesh
EU announces EUR 2 mn assistance for refugees and host communities in Uganda
  • Hillsides stripped of vegetation during the initial influx of refugees in late August 2017 have become increasingly unstable. (Image Credit: Twitter)

The European Union's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) has confirmed fresh funding worth EUR 2 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support refugees and host communities in western and north-western Uganda.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will use the funds to deliver life-saving interventions on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, as well as the host communities in Kyangwali settlement in Hoima district, Kyaka II settlement in Kyegegwa district, and Palorinya settlement in Moyo district.

The overarching objective of the project is to neutralize the risk of WASH-related diseases such as diarrhea and cholera.

Since December 2017, thousands of Congolese asylum seekers have been streaming across the border into Uganda, fleeing ethnic clashes and human rights violations by armed militia in Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu provinces. According to UNHCR, more than 80,300 Congolese have fled to Uganda since 1 January 2018 – many crossing Lake Albert in dangerous boats and canoes.

The latest EU project activities will benefit 82,700 direct beneficiaries, under a one-year project titled Strengthening Wash Service Delivery for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda. The beneficiaries will include 14,700 Ugandan members of the communities hosting the refugee population.

This project brings European Union Humanitarian Aid commitments to IOM Uganda in the last 14 months to EUR 4 million. Already EU Humanitarian Aid has been funding IOM's WASH Service Delivery to South Sudanese Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda – in Yumbe and Moyo districts.

The EU-funded activities in Moyo will complement another IOM Uganda WASH project, funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN-CERF), worth USD 1 million.

Speaking about the new EU funding, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides said, "The escalation of the crisis in Congo since late last year has created a serious emergency in Uganda, with tens of thousands of vulnerable refugees at risk of deadly diseases. Therefore, the European Union has had to come in with these funds to support the life-saving interventions."

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing welcomed the European Union's continued humanitarian support.

"When you have huge numbers of vulnerable asylum seekers in confined spaces, the support of the EU is particularly significant," DG Swing said. "Because if you do not provide safe water and sanitation, if people are not helped to build latrines, then you run a risk of losing thousands of already vulnerable people. So, this European Union humanitarian aid is not simply assisting people, it is saving lives."

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