Description of the disaster
- July 2016: In the month following an escalation of violence in South Sudan, 80,354 people cross into Uganda at a rate of approximately 2,592 people per day.
27 July 2016: An inter-agency meeting is held where the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and UNHCR call upon agencies to urgently mobilize resources and capacities to respond to the refugee humanitarian situation in West Nile.
2 Aug 2016: Bidibidi settlement opens in Yumbe District to alleviate overcrowding in other settlements. The IFRC is supporting Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) to focus its response efforts in Bidibidi. Services and facilities in Bidibidi settlement are extremely under-resourced and are not sufficient to meet the basic needs of the current and projected population. The URCS, UNHCR and other agencies working in Bidibidi settlement are helping to address urgent basic needs in terms of water, sanitation and health.
24 August 2016: The IFRC issues an Emergency Appeal for 658,782 Swiss francs, targeting 40,000 refugees in Bidibidi Settlement.
1 November 2016: The IFRC publishes Operations update 3 to announce an increase in budget to 690,325 Swiss francs to assist 30,000 refugees (reduced from 40,000 refugees). Between August and November 2016 refugees in Bidibidi increased in population from 8,982 to 160,681.
February 2017: The IFRC publishes an Operations update 4 after a significant increase in daily refugee arrivals. There are now 272,206 people in Bidibidi settlement, 123,795 people in Palorinya settlement and 86,770 people in Rhino settlement. A WASH Emergency Response Unit (M40) is deployed to address the urgent WASH needs in Rhino settlement and the newly opened Imvepi settlement.
April 2017: With a total of 816,041 South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers, and 176,033 new arrivals since the 1st of January 2017 (UNHCR 27 March 2017). A Mass Sanitation Module (MSM 20) is deployed to address the urgent sanitation needs in the newly opened Imvepi settlement. The IFRC issues revised Emergency Appeal for 2,670,638 Swiss francs to now target 136,666 refugees in Bidibidi, Imvepi and Rhino settlement. The revised appeal includes an Emergency Response Unit (ERU) bilateral component valued at CHF 1,026,632.
June 2017: The IFRC publishes Operations update 5, to provide up to date information on increasing number of South Sudanese refugees. Moreover, the appeal time frame has been extended until the end of December 2017, to ensure the completion of all the activities.
December 2017: Revised emergency appeal is issued with an increased budget of 4,503,319 Swiss francs and an extended timeframe until June 2018.
June 2018: IFRC publishes Operations update 6 extending the Emergency Appeal timeframe for 3 months form June 24th to September 24th to complete remaining activities and continue to support URCS South Sudanese refugee operation in the West Nile to transition from the emergency operation to a longer term response, in line with URCS Plan of Action.
Summary of response
Overview of Host National Society
Uganda has been hosting refugees since the early 1990s. As per March 2019 UNHCR-OPM Statistical Dashboard Uganda hosts 1,239,912 from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi and Kenya. The latest OPM-UNHCR update on Refugees and Asylum Seekers, dated March 2019, shows that Uganda is currently hosting 808,554 South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers throughout the country. As per UNHCR Position on Returns to South Sudan, Update II, dated April 2019, there are reports of over 124,000 South Sudanese refugees having returned spontaneously mostly to areas hosting Internal Displaced People (IDPs) in South Sudan. Since the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (RARCSS) was signed on 11 September 2018, the permanent ceasefire is being upheld in most parts of the country and there is a marked reduction in violence, however, conflict remains and egregious human rights violations continue to be perpetrated by parties to the conflict with near complete impunity. As a consequence, humanitarian actors in Uganda are called to continue supporting old and new refugee caseloads with programmes tailored to their needs.
Between August 2016 and September 2018, the URCS provided humanitarian support to refugees in the West Nile region and specifically in Rhino camp, Bidibidi, Imvepi and Palorinya refugee settlements in Arua and Yumbe districts. The operation focused on the following areas of intervention: WASH, distribution of non-food items, food security, psychosocial support, health, restoring family links and peace and conflict management. Main activities were:
• ensuring daily access to safe water which meets SPHERE and WHO standards in terms of quantity and quality;
• ensuring adequate sanitation which meets Sphere standards in terms of quantity and quality
• providing hygiene promotion activities which meet SPHERE standards in terms of the identification and use of hygiene items;
• providing community-based health promotion activities;
• conducting epidemic prevention and control measures;
• improving wellbeing of staff, volunteers and beneficiaries.
IFRC and URCS organized a Red Cross Movement partnership meeting in November 2017 to present the ongoing operations (including the Appeal and bilateral support) and the long-term needs for support to the South Sudanese refugee response crisis. As a result, Austrian, German, Netherlands, Canadian and Icelandic Red Cross extended their bilateral programs with URCS and/or established new programs to implement mid to long term actions in Rhino camp, Imvepi, Bidibidi and Palorinya refugee settlements. These actions provide continuity to the operation initiated through the Emergency Appeal, leveraging on achievements and relationship established with communities, institutions and stakeholders.