Voices from Uganda – Urgent Plea for Sudanese Refugees

Due to the ongoing conflict in Sudan since April 2023, nearly 6.2 million people have been displaced inside and outside Sudan, which currently makes it the largest protection crisis in the region. As the conflict parties violated various ceasefires and are not willing to enter peace agreements, more Sudanese are expected to flee out of the country this year. Given that Sudan is a refugee hosting country itself it is most likely that the ongoing conflict will also lead to the secondary displacement of refugees in Sudan.

The displacement of such large numbers of people has major implications on Sudan’s five neighbouring countries, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, as they receive most of those seeking safety. However, some of these countries struggle with internal conflicts themselves and the resources for the humanitarian assistance of the ones in need are limited.

Nevertheless, to ensure life-saving assistance and the access to basic services and protection, UN-OCHA and UNHCR launched the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) on the 7th of February 2024. With its four strategic objectives, the 2024 RRP guides all involved stakeholders in the provision of assistance – find out more here.

Although Uganda is not an immediate neighbor to Sudan, it offered its support by accommodating Sudanese refugees. In December 2023, Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, where GRI implements its programs, received approximately 1500 new arrivals from Sudan. More were on the journey. Our Board Member, Mary Akugizibwe was there and met some of the newly welcomed families. Today, she shares her insights with us:

“I visited Kiryandongo refugee settlement in Uganda 2 days after Christmas and met incredible Sudanese families facing unimaginable challenges. New-borns with no proper clothing, mothers going hungry, a severe lack of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, kids eager to go back to school in 2024 but there aren’t enough schools, the few available health facilities are congested – the struggle is real.

While celebrations filled the air elsewhere during the Christmas season, for the Sudanese refugees, it was a time marked by misery and hardship

I spoke with Amina, a new mom of twins, living in a makeshift tent offered by UNHCR with her husband Samir, she had given birth 3 months before while at the Reception Centre at the border with Uganda and South Sudan. She was worried whether her newly born twins would survive these hard conditions.

There is an urgent need for humanitarian aid.

The challenges faced by these Sudanese refugees in Uganda are immense, and local NGOs like Global Refugee Initiatives (GRI) play a critical role in meeting such immediate needs.”

We call upon everyone to support GRI as one of the implementing partners addressing this crisis.