By Anna Chibamu
The United States government through its Department of State and USAID Monday announced a US$592 million support for refugees, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, persecuted and forcibly displaced people across Africa.
Assistant secretary of state for the bureau of population, refugees, and migration Julieta Valls Noyes, announced the news in Kampala, Uganda.
“This assistance will provide lifesaving support to refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons, forcibly displaced and persecuted people across Africa, including those affected by crises in the Horn, the Sahel, and other emergency situations throughout the region,” read the statement.
“It said throughout the region, “response efforts to address under-recognized humanitarian crises are facing dire funding constraints. This assistance will enable our humanitarian partners to help the over seven million refugees and asylum seekers currently hosted across Africa as well the over 25 million internally displaced persons.”
According to Noyes, Uganda remains the largest refugee host on the continent with more than 1.5 million refugees and asylum seekers.
The announcement also included more than $82 million for humanitarian assistance in Uganda, more than $61 million in humanitarian assistance from the State Department and $21 million from USAID.
The Department’s funding consists of more than $41 million to the United Nations Refugee Agency and nearly $20 million to other programs supporting essential services such as health, education, protection, and income-generating activities.
Also, USAID’s $21 million will support general food assistance and comprehensive nutrition programming for refugees as well as complement ongoing food security support in the Karamoja sub-region of Uganda. Refugees and asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable to the food insecurity impacting much of the continent, especially in countries with a reliance on Russian and Ukrainian imports and a vulnerability to price shocks.
“The US is concerned by the diminished global attention to humanitarian crises in Africa, including in Uganda, where the growing number of new arrivals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan reached over 71,000 since the start of the year.
“We urge other donors to provide additional support to the growing humanitarian needs on the continent,” added Noyes.
Zimbabwe’s Public service minister, Paul Mavima, recently said, “the Government is alive to its international obligation to receive and protect refugees and asylum seekers. The need to empower persons of concern in terms of livelihoods need not be over emphasized. The Government of Zimbabwe will continue to avail arable land for the expansion of the irrigation scheme in Tongogara to benefit refugees and the host community to ensure coexistence.”
Most of the refugees in Zimbabwe are from DRC, Rwanda, Mozambique and Burundi.