Locals and refugees struggle as South Sudanese are displaced into Adjumani and Moyo

Residents of the West Nile region in Uganda estimate that upto 30,000 South Sudanese have joined that community as refugee with most of them settling in Adjumani district and especially Zaidi refugee camp near the South Sudan border. As a result, several problems have cropped up for both the local community and the refugees as well. Odego Geoffrey from Ofua sub-county in Adjumani reports that upto 100 Sudanese families in Mireyi refugee camp need humanitarian assistant. “They are sleeping in trees,” the farmer who own a garden just about 300 metres from the camp relayed. He says the refugees were ferried to the camp by UNHCR vehicles. While the UN body gave the refugees some supplies like blankets and carpets, each was meant to construct their own dwelling. “Those that have money have moved to Adjumani town to rent but it is these ones without money who are suffering,” the audibly sympathetic farmer explained. He revealed that renting a three bedroom family home in Adjumani town can cost upto sh800,000. In more remote areas, families may be willing to rent out a small hut at sh10000 a month but that would exclude farming land which has to rented separately.

Meanwhile several other reports coming into News-Hapa are lamenting that the influx of refugees is causing very steep rises in the price of food and other essential commodities. Pido Miicheal Adrawa reports that in his home area of pakdle subcounty, Adjumani district, the price of beef has risen from sh7,000 to sh12,000 in the past one month and the salt price has doubled from 500 to 1000. Kenneth Jurua from Remeken sub-county in Arua says that in his locality, a kilo of cassava floor, the local staple has risen from sh8,000 to around sh12,000 while a kilo of beans has increased by sh1000.

However the prices and shortages are biting the refugees even harder than the locals. In Zaidi refugee camp, Moyo district, where an estimated 20,000 - 30000 Sudanese have moved, locals are making a killing by selling the refugees water at sh1500.

While UNHCR gets mentioned repeatedly as the agency that ferried many of these refugees to the camps, residents also point out the abscence of other humanitarian agencies. “I haven’t seen any supplies from the World Food Programme,” notes Odego.

- Jan. 21, 2014
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