The European Commission (EU) has announced new funding of €32 million euro ( about sh140 billion) towards humanitarian activities in Uganda.
This is part of a wider Horn of Africa humanitarian assistance worth €149 million in aid for the year 2021.
The Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, says this is in response to the increasing cases of emergencies in the region due to floods, desert locusts and COVID-19 in 2020.
“During the past year, the Greater Horn of Africa countries, in addition to being affected by conflict and displacement, have also been facing the so-called triple threat of desert locust infestation, the impact of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The EU says that for this reason, it will ensure the millions of people in need of urgent assistance access emergency lifesaving support, such as food, nutrition, health and protection.
The other countries that are to benefit are in Djibouti (€500,000), Kenya (€14 million), Somalia (€42.5 million) and Sudan (€52 million). Another €8 million (Ushs 34.8 billion) is allocated to the efforts against the Desert Locust infestation, according to the statement from the EU.
In Uganda, almost 4 million Ugandan nationals and 1.4 million refugees are in need of humanitarian support, according to the EU. The statement says, economic hardship, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, is undermining the country’s commitment to a progressive policy towards refugees.
“In Uganda, EU humanitarian funding will focus on providing assistance to the most vulnerable refugees and their host communities, as well as strengthen disaster preparedness in addressing multiple crises, including epidemics.”
The EU has already announced new humanitarian funding of €53.7 million for Ethiopia and €43.5 million for South Sudan during the recent visit of Commissioner Lenarčič to these countries. Of the total funds allocated across the region, around €30 million will be going to projects providing education to children caught up in humanitarian crises.
The Greater Horn of Africa Region has recorded more than 11.5 million people displaced, and of these, more than 4 million are refugees.
According to the EU, Sudan has are more than 13.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including 1 million registered asylum-seekers and refugees, while more than 9 million people require food assistance.
Since November 2020, the Tigray conflict in neighbouring Ethiopia and the border tension around the agricultural fertile land of Al Fashaga presents an additional risk for the fragile political transition and has already resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing the Tigray region, and other regions of Ethiopia.
ALSO READ: Legal initiatives for refugees in Uganda
The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world.
“Crop and food losses in affected areas can be enormous, generating direct dramatic negative impacts on agriculture and livelihoods. With over 35 million people in the region already food insecure, the desert locust upsurge remains an unprecedented threat to food security,” says the statement.
In their updated appeal for 2021, Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO estimates that still 3.3 million people are at risk of food insecurity due to the Desert Locust in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan