On July 8, the United States once again demonstrated its ongoing commitment to providing life-saving assistance to those affected by conflict with a pledge of nearly $639 million in additional humanitarian assistance. Upon the conclusion of the G20 summit in Germany, and following the June 23 Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees, the U.S. government announced this contribution, which will provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, medical care, and protection to the millions of people affected by food insecurity and violence in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen. Some $62.7 million of this total is supporting the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Program (WFP) refugee assistance operations in Uganda.
The refugee situation in Uganda has reached crisis proportions. As of July 2017, there are some 1.3 million refugees in the country – including nearly 1 million who have sought safety from the violence in South Sudan – as well as refugees from Burundi, the DRC, and elsewhere. This influx has put increased pressure on the government of Uganda, local hosting communities, and international relief organizations to provide food, shelter, protection, water, and other basic services. Both WFP and UNHCR face significant funding gaps and are struggling to keep up with the rising demands of a growing refugee population – leading to food shortages and wider insecurity.
“The United States remains the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance in the affected areas of Uganda. And as this crisis has grown, so have our contributions,” said U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah R. Malac. “But the United States cannot continue to shoulder this responsibility alone. As needs continue to arise, the rest of the international donor community – particularly those who do not historically respond to humanitarian crises – must contribute more to prevent a broader disaster. The lives of millions, both refugees and the Ugandans hosting them, depend on additional support and assistance.”
Since October 2016, the United States has provided $187.4 million in humanitarian assistance to address the refugee situation in Uganda. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the crises in South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen now exceeds $1.8 billion since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017. The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance in all four crises and the largest single donor of humanitarian assistance in the world.