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Media Update: UNICEF response to South Sudan refugee situation

© UNICEF Uganda
South Sudan refugee children play in refugee settlement in Northern Uganda.


• According to UNHCR and Office of Prime Minister, there is a significant increase in the influx of South Sudanese refugees with a total of 7,225 new arrivals crossing into Uganda on July 18th. These came through Elegu in Adjumani, Oraba in Arua, Moyo, Lamwo and Kiryandongo. UNHCR says this is the highest number to arrive in a single day in the last two years.

• Since 7th July, there are 14,887 new arrivals, according to UNHCR

• More than 90 percent of the new arrivals are women and children.

• UNICEF is participating in the UNHCR and OPM led multi-agency assessment of needs in existing and possible new settlement sites for hosting refugees from South Sudan in Kiryandongo, Moyo, Yumbe and Adjumani Districts.

• Preliminary findings indicate that at Elegu border, 5 in every 100 children have severe acute malnutrition.

• Water, sanitation and hygiene situation at the reception centre in Elegu is not adequate.

• Education infrastructure remains a challenge. Some 69 classrooms are required for Maaji III and Pagirinya settlement. Teachers’ accommodation and WASH facilities for pupils and teachers is still a challenge.  Upcoming schools will require instructional and scholastic material as most of the new arrivals are vulnerable.

• There is need for teacher recruitment and capacity strengthening to support learning of refugee children.

UNICEF Humanitarian response

Health & Nutrition:

• All under-fives among the new arrivals are being screened for malnutrition. UNICEF and its partner Concern Worldwide have provided additional two nutritionists to support UNHCR partner Medical Team International at Elegu border point to support the exercise.

• 2300 cartons of therapeutic foods have been delivered to Yumbe, Moyo,Arua to manage the children with severe acute malnutrition. 

• UNICEF has supported the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunization (UNEPI) at all entry points within the districts of Arua, Koboko, Kiryandongo and Adjumani with 13,000 doses of measles and 5,000 doses of Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV). Procurement is underway for additional 100,000 vaccines of OPV.  All children aged 0-59 months entering the border points are receiving OPV doses while children aged 6 months – 14 years are receiving doses of measles.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 

• Drilling of five boreholes is on-going in Pagirinya settlement which is designed to receive new arrivals from South Sudan in Adjumani district.

• UNICEF and its partner, Water Mission are working on extension and upgrading of motorized systems in the settlements in Adjumani, Arua and Kiryandongo while Danish Refugee Committee (DRC) is focusing on hygiene and sanitation in the settlements.


• Four tents have been erected by UNICEF and UNHCR partner Windle Trust to act as temporary classrooms at Pagirinya settlement in Adjumani. Some 15 more tents are still required to support the increasing influx.

• UNICEF has provided 215 early childhood development (ECD) kits to Adujumani, Yumbe, Koboko and Arua districts to support the ongoing influx. An ECD kit contains assorted play items and some hygiene equipment like jerrycan, soap and washing basin. It is for children aged 3 months-6 years and one ECD kit can be used by 50 children at ago.

Child Protection: 

• UNICEF and its partner, Save the Children are providing child protection interventions including identification and alternative care for vulnerable children, sUnaccompanied & Separated children and survivors of sexual Gender based violence using Child Protection Information Management System (CPIMS). Save the Children has expanded its staffing capacity to register the increasing number of children in partnership with UNHCR and OPM.

• Establishment of four new Child Friendly Spaces has started in Wanyange in Arua District, Ranch 18 and Cluster D in Kiryandongo District, Majii 3 in Adjumani District in preparation to support new arrivals.

• UNICEF and its partner, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), are active in Kiryandongo District and will continue to identify children requiring specialized psychosocial support and provide clinical services and referrals as needed.

For more information, please contact:
Catherine Ntabadde Makumbi, Communications Specialist, UNICEF Uganda, +256 717 171 111, +256-772 629 567, +256-703-729567,



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