Yumbe. The continued wars in various parts of South Sudan have continued to drive away vulnerable women, children and elderly into Uganda to seek for safe haven as more humanitarian assistance is needed.
But this has come at a cost where Uganda government is bearing the brunt of the conflict being caused by the warring factions with bulging number of refugees, making it difficult for the refugee agencies to provide services.
The Ambassador said on Tuesday night after visiting Bidibidi settlement camp in Yumbe district that has about 272,000 refugees, the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Kazuaki Kameda, said: “I believe that the African leaders must unite to solve the South Sudan crisis because they know and understand it well. IGAD and other African regional bodies should see that South Sudan leaders bear the costs of the war.”
Kazuaki said those who have escaped from the war remain to be in dire need for adequate provision of water, food, shelter, sanitation and yet funding from the international community remains meagre. JICA, is now assisting the refugees with rice production through Abi-Zardi to reduce food rationing, provision of water and sanitation facilities to avert water borne diseases.
Kazuaki said the International community should assist the agencies because the humanitarian situation in the camps remains dire. In the camps, during school days, the pupils cram and scramble for available spaces in the makeshift classrooms, at health centers, the few health workers employed by the NGOs are overwhelmed with malnourished children, mothers and the vulnerable elderly people.
The Director of Studies at Yangani primary school in Bidibidi settlement, Rasul Akule, said: “We are overwhelmed with the 4,786 pupils that we have yet this has caused brain drain to the 40 teachers that are here. And during the rainy seasons, we have to stop lessons because the tents keep leaking and destroy the learning materials.”
He said even the accommodation of staff remains wanting. “Whenever it is raining, you cannot sleep because of the leaking tent. You have to stand until the rain stops,” he added.
According to UNHCR, it receives about 500 refugees daily although this figure keeps changing especially on the situation in South Sudan. The two leaders, President Salva Kiir and the Opposition leader, Dr Riek Machar has remained holed up in South Africa while the soldiers of both leaders of both government and opposition have continued to wreak havoc in the South Sudan.