Three South Sudanese refugees carry their non-food items from a UNHCR distribution point in Uganda
The South Sudan emergency is now Africa’s largest refugee crisis, displacing 3.3 million people since conflict between government forces and rebel groups reignited in 2016. It has become the world’s third largest refugee crisis, after Syria and Afghanistan.
UNHCR estimates that 1.8 million people are displaced within South Sudan, and the country is also hosting 260,000 refugees from conflicts elsewhere.
A further 1.5 million South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries, such as Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over 60% of these refugees are children.
People fleeing the violence lose everything as they are forced to abandon their homes. Ongoing conflict and lack of funding are leading to severe malnutrition as food supplies are cut, with almost one million people on the brink of famine.
The vast majority of South Sudanese refugees are women and children, with many children fleeing alone after losing their families.
More than 9,800 South Sudanese children have fled unaccompanied to neighbouring Kenya.
UNHCR is on the ground across South Sudan and neighbouring countries to protect people displaced by this conflict. It is providing protection and life-saving aid, including emergency nutrition, water, shelter, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and basic cooking sets.
UNHCR also provides protection for vulnerable refugees, such as women and girls, who face the threat of sexual violence, and unaccompanied children, to help trace their families or provide alternative care.
Australia for UNHCR is appealing for public support to help UNHCR protect those fleeing the South Sudanese conflict. Currently, UNHCR only has only 6c for every $1 needed for its humanitarian operations.
UNHCR is providing basic supplies for survival but more is needed.
People fleeing war, disaster or persecution can be very vulnerable. UNHCR supplies displaced people with essential items, food and shelter to protect them from having to make dangerous decisions to survive. On a larger scale, UNHCR negotiates safe passage, asylum spaces and humanitarian access, upholding the rights of refugees and minimising the threat of violence, including sexual assault.
UNHCR leads the inter-agency protection cluster, which works to ensure the safety of particularly vulnerable South Sudanese people who have been forced from their homes. This includes creating child-friendly spaces in refugee camps to assist unaccompanied children with family identification and reunification. UNHCR’s Protection Monitoring System (PMS) also helps identify those affected by sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) for treatment and support.
UNHCR provides refugees with emergency shelter — tents, tarpaulins and demountable housing — in the immediate aftermath of displacement. More broadly, we are responsible for site planning and camp management to ensure refugee settlements are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. For those living outside camps, UNHCR funds the rehabilitation of communal shelters, the construction of new homes and rental assistance for those in urban situations. UNHCR also provides materials that displaced people need to build a home themselves under self-help schemes.
UNHCR is providing support to South Sudanese refugees in five UN Mission bases in South Sudan. The temporary shelters we provide include lightweight emergency tents and plastic sheeting. These tents give a displaced family of five protection from the elements: wind, rain, the blazing sun and the bitter night cold.
Malnutrition is a common consequence of conflict and displacement. UNHCR works with the World Food Programme (WFP) to ensure that all refugees have access to adequate nutrient-rich food. UNHCR assists with the distribution of food rations in camps and provide urban refugees with vouchers and cash assistance for the purchase of food and groceries. In acute situations, UNHCR supports emergency nutrition and therapeutic feeding programs, supplying fortified milks and ready-to-use therapeutic foods.
There is an ongoing shortage of food and clean water in many of the camps for displaced people in South Sudan, there is an ongoing shortage of food and clean water. UNHCR and the World Food Program have been distributing emergency food aid to families in the worst affected camps. They have also increased food rations in regions where food security is a grave concern
When people flee their homes, they often struggle to safely and easily access adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, endangering their health. UNHCR provides extensive infrastructure in refugee camps – wells, pumps, tap-stands and latrines – to meet refugees’ water needs and prevent disease. The water containers we provide as part of our basic survival kit enable displaced families to fetch and store clean water.
Providing refugees with clean drinking water is an ongoing challenge. UNHCR has overseen the installation of major water infrastructure in displacement camps, but medical staff continue to battle outbreaks of deadly diseases like bloody diarrhoea, cholera and Hepatitis E. UNHCR staff distribute jerry cans that allow families to carry and store clean drinking water and protect themselves from waterborne illness. They also run community education programs to improve water usage and sanitation practices in the camps.
UNHCR facilitates access to basic healthcare for refugees through camp clinics and local healthcare providers. Priority health services include emergency medical care for those who have suffered violence, reproductive services and treatment for infants and the elderly. UNHCR also coordinates immunisation programs to prevent the spread of diseases in crowded refugee settings.
In the north of South Sudan, UNHCR is supporting health clinics in ten camps for displaced South Sudanese. Conditions in the camps are harsh and residents suffer high rates of acute malnutrition as well as outbreaks of malaria and waterborne disease. Pregnant women and children make up a large proportion of patients in need of emergency and ongoing medical care.
UNHCR distributes life-sustaining items such as mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, stoves and fuel, soap and other sanitary items to refugees under its care. These supplies are tailored to the specific needs of the refugee population: for example, winterisation kits are distributed in camps and communities where sub-zero temperatures occur. UNHCR maintains global stockpiles of core relief items for immediate delivery in emergency situations.
UNHCR has been delivering emergency relief and ongoing services to men, women and children in ten large refugee camps near the Sudanese border. Getting emergency staff and relief equipment to these camps is an ongoing challenge given their remote location. The persistent insecurity and an annual rainy season, which causes widespread flooding, can cut road access to the region for months at a time.
You can help
Collection of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR follows the Australian Privacy Principles in handling personal information; we collect personal information about individuals including supporters, employees, contractors, volunteers, special representatives/delegates and job applicants. This information is collected directly from you, in person, by phone or email, on hard copy donation forms or via our website. We may also collect your personal information from publically available sources or third parties.
Use of Personal Data
The information we collect and hold generally includes contact details (name, address, email), personal details including date of birth, and credit card or bank accounts details.
We use the personal information you provide us with for the purpose for which it was provided to us, other related purposes or as permitted or required by law. Generally we collect and use your personal information for:
We also use your information in our marketing and fundraising activities, keeping you informed of our latest news, campaigns and appeals or about campaigns and appeals which may be of interest to you, and offer you the opportunity to subscribe to them. We may also offer you the opportunity to participate in surveys carried out by Australia for UNHCR or its agents.
We use your personal details to assist in the cost-effective development of our marketing and fundraising activities by sending you information by post, email or telephone. As we have a large number of supporters, at times we use external providers to assist with our telemarketing and mailing. We will take reasonable steps to ensure that our contracts with third parties include requirements for third parties to comply with the Use and Disclosure requirements of the Privacy Act.
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Disclosure and Sharing of Personal Data
We occasionally invite other like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia to contact you with information that may be of interest. This allows Australia for UNHCR to increase its base of supporters and reach more people with our vital message.
Any personal contact information you provide to us may be disclosed, if appropriate, to third parties who provide services on our behalf. We may also disclose your personal information to our volunteers who assist with many of our tasks.
Strict confidentiality agreements are in place with our service providers and external agencies, and with staff and volunteers who handle your personal information. We will only disclose your personal information for the purposes for which it was initially collected, other directly related purposes or purposes to which you otherwise consent.
Other than as stated above, we will we not share your personal information. However, it is possible, though unlikely, that we might be forced to disclose personal information in response to legal processes or when we believe in good faith that the law requires it, for example, in response to a court order, subpoena or a law enforcement agency's request.
If you do not wish Australia for UNHCR to share your personal information with like-minded and trusted organisations in Australia, you may opt out by ticking the appropriate box on the donation or pledge form or contact our Donor Services team, with contact details at the bottom of this policy. If you have any questions about privacy please contact our Donor Services Team (see contact details at the bottom of this policy).
Access and Correction of Personal Data
Australia for UNHCR will correct its records containing Personal Information as soon as practically possible at the request of the individual concerned in accordance with the Privacy Act. We take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information that we collect and hold is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However, we rely on you to advise us of any changes to your personal information to help us maintain accurate, complete and up-to-date information.
We will, on request, provide you with access to the personal information we hold about you unless otherwise required or permitted by law. We will notify you of the basis for any denial of access to your personal information.
Individuals wishing to lodge a request to access and/or correct their Personal Information should do so by contacting our Donor Services Team; contact details are included at the bottom of this document.
Quality of Personal Information
Australia for UNHCR will review, on a regular and ongoing basis, its collection and storage practices to ascertain how improvements to accuracy can be achieved. We may utilise the services of third parties in order to maintain accurate personal information. Where such disclosure is made, we take reasonable steps to require these organisations comply with the National Privacy Principles.
Storage and Security of Information
We strive to protect your personal information, that it is protected from misuse, loss, interference and unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. For example, whenever we ask for your financial details online, we use security-encrypted response forms.
No data transmission over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, Australia for UNHCR cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us over the internet, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission, we make our best effort to try and ensure its security both on our systems and while in transit between our systems and the companies who provide us with various services. If you do not wish to make your financial contribution online, please contact us to receive a hard copy form; contact details are included at the bottom of this policy.
Making a Privacy Complaint
We will refer your complaint to our Privacy Officer who will investigate the issue and determine the steps that we will undertake to resolve your complaint. We will contact you if we require any additional information from you and will notify you in writing of the outcome of the investigation. If you are not satisfied with our determination, you can contact us to discuss your concerns. If your complaint is about the way we handle your personal information, you may also contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner by calling 1300 363 992, online at www.oaic.gov.au or writing to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001.
Online Activity and Privacy
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In addition, if you linked to our websites from a third party website, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners or operators of that site. We recommend you check the policy of the third party site and contact its owner or operator if you have any concerns or questions.
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Donor Services Team: