On 18 December 2017 violence escalated in Ituri and Nord Kivu provinces of north-east Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), causing displacement and an increased refugee influx into Uganda. At least 7,185 refugees have crossed into west and southwest Uganda. Refugees are being relocated to Kyangwali settlement and the Malembo C site in Hoima district, and Kyaka II settlement in Kyegegwa district. Cross-sectoral response must be strengthened as humanitarian resources and capacities are strained due to the increase in arrivals.
2017 has seen a significant spike in South Sudanese refugees entering Uganda: as of 7 June the total number of south Sudanese refugees in Uganda is over 955,000. Most are in West Nile district in the northern region of Uganda, although some are now being settled in Lamwo district. These refugees are reliant on humanitarian assistance for survival, and response is stretched by limited funding and the high continuous arrival rate. Priority sectors for assistance are food and livelihoods, WASH, and health. Nutrition, protection, education, and shelter needs are also high.
Outbreaks of Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, have been reported in DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Ghana and Kenya. Regionally, around 330,000 hectares of staple crops, especially maize, have been affected. The remaining southern African mainland countries remain at high risk. The severity of the impact on regional crop production is yet to be established. The damages caused by the infestation depend on the stage at which the pest attacked the plant. Crops that were infested during the early stages of crop development, in late December, had to be replanted, while those infested later in their growth seem to have recovered without intervention.
Update: The further spread of Fall Armyworm was observed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe in March. Damage from existing outbreaks was also sustained in Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. While further outbreaks are expected only in northern Tanzania in the coming months, all countries are advised to continue monitoring diligently and to apply appropriate preventative measures. Although the Fall Armyworm season is expected to end in June, long-term impacts are expected for affected countries, and neighbouring countries should also remain diligent.