South Sudan’s conflict represents one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises. Recently, the number of South Sudanese refugees has passed the one million mark. An estimated number of 2,500 refugees are crossing from South Sudan into Uganda every day. Most of the are accommodated in settlement camps, lacking proper resources. At least 200,000 South Sudanese refugees have come to Uganda since the fighting intensified in Juba on 8th July between supporters of President Salva Kiir and Reik Machar, then-vice president.
By way of Uganda’s self-sufficiency approach to refugees, each South Sudanese family is offered a plot of land to grow its own food. In reality, refugees say that the land isn’t sufficient for everyone, a fact that makes them rely on food aid from the UN. However, severe underfunding is restringing UN’s efforts on the ground.
The new settlement, Bidibidi, which opened in August, has become one of the largest refugee-hosting areas in the world. Currently, it is the home of 170,000 South Sudanese refugees. Food and water supply are major challenges in Bidibidi, where the needs are constantly growing. Most refugees come from the Equatoria regions of South Sudan. They reported civilian harassing, killings and torture of people suspected of supporting opposing factions and sexual assaults of women and girls in the region. At present, providing basic facilities for South Sudanese refugees is an imperious priority.