Coronavirus: refugees in limbo

Hand-washing facilities such as this one are a common sight, in Uganda’s towns and villages alike. Picture by Ochan Hannington | 28 Mar 2020

Refugees who were outside of their camps when nationwide lockdown came into force are starving – and their chances of survival are becoming slim, they say. Lockdown measures; especially travel restrictions have impacted heavily on their health. They are deterred from going back to their respective camps to receive their usual monthly food rations. They are worried missing out on their major source of survival – food aid offered by humanitarian agencies – and the lockdown is not easing, at all. Many complain they are becoming weaker everyday.

Two days a go, the lockdown was extended for another 21 days, making their plight even deeper. In the Northern district of Koboko alone over 23,000 South Sudanese Refugees are in panic. They are likely to die from hunger; not COVID-19 if nothing is done to improve their condition, according to Peter Aringu the Chairman of South Sudanese Refugee Association. He is worried about his people. Take a listen.

The Resident District Commissioner of Koboko, Kakooza Yahya, representative of the President’s Office says help for stranded refugees who depend entirely on monthly food rations soon maybe underway amid lockdown measures.

By Ronald Acema