By Mouris Opolot
KAMPALA, UGANDA. Most refugee children do not have three meals a day a new report by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) and UNICEF Uganda has revealed. The report carried out between January and February 2018 indicates that 66 percent refugee communities’ children never have 3 meals in a day compared to 41.2 percent in host communities.
“Host and refugee communities have to move a long distance of 5 kilometers to access a health center (West Nile 21.1 percent, South West its 30 percent and Kampala 64 percent,” he said.
Adding, “Despite being a land locked country, Uganda hosts thousands of refugees from neighboring countries, notably South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Somalia.
Between January and February 2018, more than 40,000 refugees had already entered Uganda from DRC against the projection of 60,000.
This according to the report has put refugee-hosting areas, most of which are extremely poor with inadequate technical capacity to support refugees, under enormous pressure, Mr Oluplot noted.
Titled “child poverty and deprivation in refugee hosting areas, evidence from Uganda”, the study assessed child poverty, deprivation in refugee and host communities in West Nile, South West (DRC and Rwanda border) as well as the capital, Kampala.
It finds that refugee children are less likely to have new sets of clothes than children from the host communities. Such a situation however reverses after five years or more putting both host communities and refugees at par.
The report shows that deprivation is low in Kampala and calls for integration to enable peaceful sharing of the limited resources. It also calls for deliberate efforts to improve access to water, social services, nutrition, education, sanitation and shelter in the host communities, which have remained least developed.