Every 20 minutes, someone leaves everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror, according to the United Nations.
While most people likely think of Europe’s struggles to accommodate the massive numbers of refugees when they think of the global migrant crisis, African nations also host a significant number of refugees – around 4.4 million.
With June 20th marking World Refugee Day, here is a look at the scale of the refugee crisis in Uganda, in maps and photos.
Following the outbreak of the South Sudanese civil war, over 1.8 million refugees flooded across the border, heading to Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan.
But Uganda has taken in the most, with nearly one million South Sudanese refugees spread out across multiple camps and settlements in the North Western part of the country, with 86 per cent of them being women and children.
Less than a year ago, Bidi Bidi was a small grasslands town in Northern Uganda, dotted with a few small buildings and homes.
Now, Bidi Bidi is home to the world’s largest refugee camp, with over 270,000 South Sudanese refugees calling the camp home – a population the same size as Windsor, Ont.
This is Rhino Camp food distribution. World Vision says each distribution feeds about 5,900 people at a time. They get white sorghum, corn soya blend and vegetable oil. (Photo: World Vision)
World Vision Canada President Michael Messenger serves a hot meal to newly-arrived refugees at Imvepi reception centre. Here, refugees are assessed by UNHCR, World Vision and the Ugandan Government. (Photo: World Vision)
Among the nearly one million refugees from South Sudan in Uganda are thousands of unaccompanied, vulnerable children who have fled conflict and famine without their parents. Here are some of their stories.
Above: Rose, 14 (blue dress), Charity, 16 (red top), and Salome 12 (striped blue sweater) are sisters from South Sudan who travelled unaccompanied to Uganda. Their parents both died in South Sudan. (Photo: World Vision)
Moses, 16 (middle), Sylvia, 13 (right) and Victoria, 10 (left), are unaccompanied children from South Sudan who lost touch with their mother on the way to Uganda. Their father is dead, and Moses has to look out for his two siblings at the refugee settlement in Uganda. World Vision has helped them find foster parents inside the settlement. (Photo: World Vision)
Apartial, an online community of artists, partnered with World Vision to let children living in the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement tell their stories -- through the reproduction of works by internationally-renowned contemporary artists.
Above: Lina, 16, travelled by bus alone to Bidibidi after her father was murdered. She has been there since August. When taking part in Apartial, Lina was drawn to Canadian artist Sandra Chevrier’s work and used the same technique to create a self-portrait. "I like the picture so much. That's why I wanted to shade it by myself. Working on it I was feeling so joyful. I couldn’t think of the past," she told World Vision. (Photo: World Vision)
But the South Sudanese refugee population is just a portion of the 1.06 million refugees that the country houses.
Refugee camps in the south of the country are home to migrants from Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda, and more.
Remarkably, almost 26 per cent of the world’s refugees now live in Africa, in some of the world’s poorest nations, the least equipped to handle the influx.
For the South Sudan refugee response plan alone, the UNCHR requested over US$1.38 billion in funding for 2017.
As of June 1st, they have only received 16 per cent of the total funding needed.
Text and maps by Nick Kirmse. Photo captions provided by World Vision.