From HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – REFUGEES who have fled South Sudan and settled in Ugandan camps are engaging in bad coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol consumption, which has been blamed for a spike of violence at the centres.
Although primarily exercised by men against women and girls, humanitarian agencies reported there were also incidences of women experiencing fits of rage and acting out violently, often fuelled by alcohol.
“Oftentimes, men experience bouts of hopelessness and low self-esteem after losing everything in South Sudan and engage in negative coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol consumption.
This often leads to violent behaviour against women and girls, especially in the home, but also in the settlement,” said Delphine Pinault, Country Director at Care Uganda.
Community leaders overseeing hundreds of households that have accommodated the refugees reported alcoholism by the depressed refugees was a huge problem in their communities and perpetuated violence.
Nearly 1 million refugees have arrived in Uganda since the crisis erupted in South Sudan in July 2016, leaving Uganda as the country putting up with the largest number of refugees in the continent.
More are arriving everyday, straining the neighbouring country’s resources.
Humanitarian agency, Care, is prioritising interventions for refugees to prevent physical, sexual and emotional violence, particularly against women and girls, and to facilitate access to services for survivors of violence.
It also works with men and boys on positive masculinity helping them to learn to collaborate with women and girls and to resolve conflicts and differences through dialogue.
South Sudanese refugees have decried lack of health care services and the continued shortage of food within the resettlement camps.
– CAJ News