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US mission supports refugees, host communities to overcome COVID-19 effects

USAID WFP

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The U.S. Mission to Uganda has extended additional aid worth USD 13.3 million (49.2 billion Shillings), to support activities in the refugee communities in the country. This assistance is a response to the joint United Nations appeal to address COVID-19 needs in Uganda. 

The World Food Program will get USD 4 million (15 billion Shillings)and nearly USD  9.3 million (34 billion Shillings) will go to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, and non-governmental organizations to address the impact of the pandemic on refugees and host communities. 

This is part of the USD 46 million (170 billion Shillings) total U.S. government assistance in support of Uganda’s COVID-19 response. With these latest contributions, the U.S. government in 2020 has provided nearly USD 162 million (159 billion Shillings) in refugee humanitarian assistance in Uganda.

“We have boosted our assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the additional needs of vulnerable refugees and the Ugandan communities that so generously host them,” U.S. Embassy Kampala’s Chargé d’Affaires Christopher Krafft said.  

He said, in a statement, that the funding includes nearly USD 6.6 million (24 billion Shillings) in funding from the U.S. Department of State to UNHCR’s overall multi-sectoral support for refugees and host communities, USD 590,000 (2 billion Shillings) to UNICEF for youth and their care providers; USD 1 million (3.6 billion) to the International Refugee Committee to assist urban refugees in Kampala, and nearly USD 700,000 (2.5 billion Shillings) to Alight for protection and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) assistance related to COVID-19 in seven refugee settlements in Uganda. 

In addition, USD 500,000 (1.8 billion) supports ICRC’s global COVID-19 response. ICRC’s efforts in Uganda help to restore family links, prevent the spread of disease in places of detention, and facilitate collaboration with International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners to contribute to the global and local COVID-19 response.

The USAID funds will address urgent food and nutrition needs countrywide as a result of COVID-19, mainly funding the delivery of food aid to the 1.3 million refugees, and provide food assistance for COVID-19 patients in quarantine centres.

Refugees are among the worst affected by the global COVID19 pandemic due to limited access to livelihood activities and high dependence on humanitarian assistance.  Addressing their needs will ensure that vulnerable refugee households are less susceptible to being vectors of COVID-19 transmission.

“We appreciate the Government of Uganda providing a safe haven to those fleeing fighting and persecution in the region, even during these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic,”Krafft added

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