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UGANDA AND UN CONVENE "SOLIDARITY SUMMIT" AMID FAST-GROWING REFUGEE EMERGENCY

Friday, 23rd June 2017
UN Secretary General interacts with the host

The two-day Summit, which opened yesterday Thursday, 22 June, comes as the UN estimates that in just one year, largely due to an influx of people fleeing violence and instability in South Sudan, the refugee population in Uganda has more than doubled - from 500,000 to more than 1.25 million -  making the country host to the world's fastest growing refugee emergency.

Hosted by President Yoweri Museveni and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the event, which is expecting 30 Heads of State and international donors, looks to raise $2 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees and to support the hosting communities over the next four years.

Nearly 86 per cent of all South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children

For many South Sudanese refugees, the first stop once they cross the border is Imvepi camp in northern Uganda's Arua district. A tent run by UN partner organization Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym, MSF, is where they receive vaccinations, malnutrition screenings and primary healthcare.

Mary Opangi, a young woman from crisis-torn Yei town in South Sudan, was nine months pregnant when she fled, and gave birth just after arriving at the Ugandan border. "Just as we came there, my stomach started to feel pain, that's why they took me to the hospital," she said.

She is one among a seemingly endless stream of daily arrivals that are putting a huge strain on Uganda's already meagre available resources.

Imvepi camp, which opened in February this year and is already filling up, is hosting 120,000 refugees, U Aye Maung, Field Officer for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told UN News, which was already on the ground in Uganda ahead of the Summit.

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