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Sh137 billion needed to solve refugee predicament in East Africa

UNHCR pleads with Kenya to continue taking-in more refugees

Refugees stand outside their tent at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya October 19, 2011.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and partners on Friday, March 18 appealed for Sh137 billion to address the refugee crisis in eastern Africa.

The refugee agency said the funds will be used to deliver humanitarian assistance and protection to 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees and local communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda.

"Funding is urgently needed to help these host countries to provide food, shelter, and access to essential services such as education and health care," the UNHCR said in a statement.

It said South Sudan continues to grapple with sporadic conflict, chronic food insecurity and the devastating impact of major flooding after nearly a decade of conflict and despite efforts toward implementing a peace agreement.

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The COVID-19 pandemic, the UNHCR said, has also strained people's resources, significantly reducing their ability to sustainably meet their needs.

According to the UN refugee agency, asylum countries are facing similar challenges from the climate predicament and the pandemic but have continued to keep their doors open for refugees.

It said governments in the five countries of asylum will be supported in their efforts to integrate South Sudanese refugees in national systems for social service delivery.

"Refugees and local communities will receive help to boost their resilience by identifying and diversifying opportunities to earn a living," the UNHCR said.

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"This is vital against a backdrop of chronic underfunding for food provision, which continues to result in regular ration cuts."

The refugee agency said it's increasing the use of clean energy and making other green investments to better protect the environment and to minimize the impacts of the climate predicament.

The South Sudan refugee predicament, which remains the largest on the African continent, was also one of the least funded in 2021, at only 21 percent.

The UNHCR said global solidarity and support for refugees must be extended to Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Sudan, who have generously welcomed South Sudanese refugees.

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