Providing urgent relief to South Sudanese refugees

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  • A South Sudanese refugee family registers for vaccinations at the Bidibidi settlement in Yumbe. Photo: Javier Alvarez/Mercy Corps

Every day, a staggering number of South Sudanese refugees arrive at Uganda’s northern border in search of safety. Over the past months, their numbers have dramatically increased, with an average of 2,100 daily arrivals. Uganda now hosts almost 900,000 refugees from South Sudan.

Mercy Corps is expanding its programs in northern Uganda to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of these refugees, who have fled an escalation of conflict in their country. We will implement a cash program at the Bidi Bidi settlement in Yumbe, northern Uganda — it’s the second largest settlement of refugees in the world and home to over 270,000 refugees, two-thirds of which are children.

“Our cash grants will allow refugees to buy what they and their families need most, while also injecting much needed currency into the local economy and supporting local livelihoods,” says Sean Granville-Ross, Mercy Corps Country Director for Uganda. “At Mercy Corps, we believe cash assistance is the most rapid, efficient and dignified manner of providing humanitarian aid.”

Get the quick facts on cash as aid ▸

The Mercy Corps program will focus on the most vulnerable groups of South Sudanese refugees, including the elderly, women-headed households, unaccompanied minors and people with disabilities. To help manage conflict in the settlement, the cash-for-work program will be established to provide work opportunities for both refugees and residents of the host communities.

Mercy Corps chose the cash-based response following its market assessment undertaken in November 2016. The study found that marketplaces within the Bidi Bidi settlement are growing to meet the demands of refugees, and that a cash-based response could stimulate the local economy and support trade.

Mercy Corps has been working in Uganda since 2006 specializing in economic development, financial inclusion, maternal child health and nutrition, resilience, and peacebuilding and conflict management.

Editor's note: This article was originally published February 3, 2017; it was updated May 15, 2017 to reflect the latest information.

How you can help
You play an important role in ensuring that these refugees have the support they need. When we work together, we can help even more people feel safe from conflict, stay healthy and forge ahead to a better, stronger future.

  • Donate today. Every single contribution helps us provide lifesaving assistance to South Sudanese families and families in crisis around the world.
  • Tell your friends. Share this story or go to our Facebook page ▸or Twitter page ▸to post the image and spread the word about the millions who need us.
  • Start a campaign. You can turn knowledge into action by setting up a personal fundraising page and asking your friends and family to contribute to our efforts to help South Sudanese fleeing conflict.