News story: Minister Wharton reinforces UK support for refugees in Uganda


During the week that famine has been declared in some parts of South Sudan, Minister Wharton saw the life-saving impact of UK aid in Uganda when he visited a centre where refugees are registered and longer term refugee settlements near the border with South Sudan. Uganda now hosts over one million refugees, with the vast majority from South Sudan.

With five million people in neighbouring South Sudan facing the threat of going without enough food and almost 2,400 people every day being forced to flee their homes from devastating conflict and cross the border into Uganda, the UK’s support is getting urgently needed food, water and medicine to those in desperate need.

Minister Wharton met with women and children at Impevi refugee centre and Rhino settlement area in Northern Uganda, who have been displaced by the horrors of war and sexual violence. He heard about the challenges of getting life-saving humanitarian aid to those who need it.

In 2016, the UK’s support to refugees in Uganda has provided:

  • food for 650,000 people including 45,000 children
  • shelter for 56,250 people
  • blankets, water containers and sanitary towels for 64,000 people and
  • vaccinated 210,000 children.

International Development Minister James Wharton said:

South Sudan faces an urgent and severe humanitarian crisis with almost half the population in desperate need, which impacts on the whole region. The first famine for six years has now been declared and the threat of starvation and ongoing violence is forcing over one million people to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring countries like Uganda.

“Uganda is now home to more refugees than any other country in Africa, and I was proud to see first hand that lives are being saved every day with the UK’s support. Alongside this, Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies in the world, where refugees are given land, jobs and integrated into communities, giving people fleeing conflict hope for the future.

“The UK will continue to play a leading role in helping encourage the longer-term stability of both South Sudan, Uganda and the broader region.”

Minister Wharton also met with British businesses in Uganda and the Ugandan Minister for Trade Amelia Kyambadde to discuss further trade and investment opportunities which will boost economic development and help the poorest stand on their own two feet, while also benefiting UK companies.

As set out in DFID’s Economic Development Strategy, UK support is helping Uganda and other countries industrialise faster, trade more and create new and productive jobs for its growing young population.

On a trip to a local family planning clinic in Kanyogoga, a settlement in Kampala, the Minister met people who are benefiting from a UK-aid supported programme that is increasing access to quality family planning services in Uganda, where half of the population of is under 15 and women have, on average, six children. Family planning is an integral part of planning for Uganda’s future.

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