Uganda, 2 May 2013: Japanese Government Provides Over USD 21 Million in Emergency Response Funds to UN Agencies in Uganda
KAMPALA, Thursday, 02 May, 2013 – The Japanese Government today announced it was providing a total of US Dollars 21.2 million to four UN agencies to support their collective response to the refugee situation in South-west Uganda, as well as the critical climate-related health, nutrition, water and sanitation challenges affecting vulnerable populations in the north-eastern region of Karamoja.
The four agencies receiving the supplementary budget funds include: the United Nations Development Programme – UNDP (USD 1.0 million); the UN High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR (USD 4.2 million); the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF (USD 8 million); and the UN World Food Programme – WFP (USD 8 million).
UNHCR says 240,000 refugees of mixed nationalities live in Uganda, of which 60 per cent – or 142,300 – are from the Congo. More than 60,000 of these were displaced since January 2012 as a result of conflict and the volatile nature of the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The growing number of refugees has significantly strained social service delivery for both refugees and host communities in the south-west region.
In the north-east, torrential rains in 2012 swept crops away in Karamoja, leaving the population not only vulnerable to severe food shortages and the attendant nutritional impediments, but also water-related challenges such as the high risk of contamination of safe water sources and inadequate access to health facilities owing to wreckage of road infrastructure.
The Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Kazuo Minagawa commended the UN for its essential role in humanitarian assistance. He remarked that the Government and People of Japan are aware of the challenges facing Uganda and willing to reach out a hand to those who are in need.
“The four UN agencies are providing essential goods and services for the refugees and vulnerable people in Uganda. Given their serious humanitarian needs, the Government and People of Japan decided to contribute USD 21.2 million, one of the largest amounts of fund in the last years. I hope that with this support the UN agencies will be able to give relief to the people in hardship.,” said Ambassador Minagawa.
The UN Resident Co-ordinator in Uganda, Mrs. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, described the Japanese funding as both significant and timely. She noted that the contribution would save lives, improve livelihoods and help increase the resilience of affected populations to external shocks.
“The United Nations in Uganda greatly values this partnership with the Japanese Government. We are committed to delivering as one UN, and we will continue to work in collaboration with the Government of Uganda and other partners to address the plight of vulnerable women, men and children, who for no fault of theirs, are facing untold hardship,” said Eziakonwa-Onochie.
UNDP will use its allocation of USD 1 million allocation to scale-up existing initiatives to strengthen peace-building and conflict resolution processes targeting mostly women, youth, religious and cultural leaders, as well as improve planning and co-ordination of economic recovery efforts in Northern Uganda. Selected vocational technical institutions will also be supported with equipment and tools to ensure that they deliver practical training to their students, majority of whom are youth, while 400 farming households in six districts will be provided with agricultural inputs, extension services and value-addition equipment to boost productivity and increase their incomes. UNDP will also support vulnerable youth and women to access affordable financial services through Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) to promote self-employment and break the cycle of poverty. The support will complement Uganda Government’s Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP), aimed at accelerating recovery from conflict and ensuring more equitable development for the people of Northern Uganda.
UNHCR, which will receive USD 4.2 million, will use the funding to provide protection and assistance to some 240,000 refugees and asylum seekers in 5 refugee settlements in the South and Mid-west region. The refugees originate mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia, and Burundi. The programme will focus on health and education services in the refugee settlements and aims to ensure access and availability of these critical services. The programme will contribute to the Millennium Development Goals to achieve universal primary education for refugee children; reduce child mortality rates; improve of maternal health; and to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases amongst refugee population. The services made available with this contribution will also support the refugee hosting communities living in and around the settlements.UNICEF will spend the USD 8 million dollars allotted to it to reach more than 30,000 refugee children and women in the South-west region and 90 per cent of all severely acutely malnourished (SAM) children in Karamoja, providing essential minimum packages of basic nutrition and health service for mothers, scaling up efforts to combat severe malnutrition and promote community engagement for health and nutrition through village health teams (VHTs) to respond to both short- and long-term needs. UNICEF will also support the provision of clean water and promotion of sanitation and hygiene, including rehabilitation of old pit latrines through application of the innovative effective micro-organism (EMO) technology to reduce stench and sludge; emergency education – focusing on early childhood development (ECD); as well as child protection, including rapid family tracing and reunification (Rapid FTR), particularly for separated and unaccompanied children, among other activities.
UN WFP will use its USD 8 million allocation to reach 116,000 refugees in the South-west with life-saving food rations for six months. The agency will use the grant to purchase maize grain, beans, vegetable cooking oil and Super Cereal, an enriched blend especially for the benefit of young children. WFP food is the only source of a complete nutritious food basket until refugees are able to provide for themselves in Uganda.
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For more information, please contact:
Kazumi KAWAMOTO (Ms.)
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