UNHCR launches free distribution of face masks to refugees in Adjumani

Pagirinya refugee settlement is among the 1st recipients of face masks
Pagirinya refugee settlement is among the first recipients of face masks

Adjumani, Uganda | URN | The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched free distribution of face masks to refugees in Adjumani district.

The exercise was launched at the Pagirinya refugee camp in Dzaipi Sub County on Saturday. It targets 180,000 refugees aged between six years and above out of the 30,000 in the district from the 19 settlement camps.

By the end of July this year all refugees eligible to wear face masks will have received the protective gear.

Speaking during the launch, Felicitas Dojillo Nebril, the head of UNHCR Sub Office in Adjumani said that the 175,886 homemade three layered face masks with 100% fabric cotton was produced by over 200 refugees who were trained in tailoring last year.

She disclosed that this will ease movement and social economic activities among the refugees and host communities now that wearing a face mask has been made mandatory by government to curtail spread of the Coronavirus in the country. 

UNHCR provided materials for the production and paid modest fees to support skills of the refugee tailors trained by Terra Renaissance, a Non-Governmental Organization with headquarters in Gulu Town and Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

Shingo Ogawa, the Terra Renaissance Country Director said that the partnership seeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the refugees and the host communities.

Titus Jogo, the Refugee Desk Officer in Adjumani disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic came at a time when they were incapacitated to handle it due to financial constraints.

He disclosed that 51 refugees in Adjumani have tested positive for coronavirus.

He also called for vigilance from among the refugees by reporting disappearance and return of their colleague for immediate isolation to curtail spread of the disease citing that some refugees are moving to their home countries and returning on trucks which is putting them at risks of contracting and spreading the deadly disease.

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James Leku, the Adjumani district chairperson said that refugees were excluded from among the people to benefit from the government face masks. Government on June 17th gave 187,008 face masks to natives of Adjumani district. 

Martin Inyani, a refugee at Pagirinya refugee camp told this publication that the free face masks distribution have restored hope among them since they were panicking about contracting the disease.

There are over 1.4 million refugees in Uganda however government have not planned in its free distribution of face masks to the Ugandan population to curtail the spread of COVID-19 disease.