Women cooking at the Imvepi Registration Centre after being registered as new arrivals in the camp. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam
Women cooking at the Imvepi Registration Centre after being registered as new arrivals in the camp. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam
After people arrive at the border they are transported to Imvepi Reception Centre on buses. When they get off the bus they must wash their hands before going to the vaccination room to be vaccinated if necessary and children are measured for malnutrition. They are then registered for the settlement and are given a hot meal and a space to sleep for the night before being taken to their new plots. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam
After people arrive at the border they are transported to Imvepi Reception Centre on buses. When they get off the bus they must wash their hands before going to the vaccination room to be vaccinated if necessary and children are measured for malnutrition. They are then registered for the settlement and are given a hot meal and a space to sleep for the night before being taken to their new plots. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam
Hot meals distributed to new arrivals at Imvepi Registration Centre, Uganda. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam
Hot meals distributed to new arrivals at Imvepi Registration Centre, Uganda. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam
Cousins Betty and Florence spent a wet night sleeping outside on the ground with their children at the reception centre at the Imvepi refugee settlement. A collection of large tents has been set up around the perimeter of the centre to house new arrivals fleeing conflict in South Sudan, but that night the tents were full and there was nowhere for the cousins and their children to sleep except outside. Picture: Coco McCabe/Oxfam
Cousins Betty and Florence spent a wet night sleeping outside on the ground with their children at the reception centre at the Imvepi refugee settlement. A collection of large tents has been set up around the perimeter of the centre to house new arrivals fleeing conflict in South Sudan, but that night the tents were full and there was nowhere for the cousins and their children to sleep except outside. Picture: Coco McCabe/Oxfam
South Sudanese refugees travelling to their new settlements in Uganda. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam
South Sudanese refugees travelling to their new settlements in Uganda. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

The number of South Sudanese refugees sheltering in Uganda has reached 1 million, the United Nations said Thursday, a grim milestone for what has become the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis.

Ugandan officials say they are overwhelmed by the flow of people fleeing South Sudan's civil war and the U.N. refugee agency urges the international community to donate more for humanitarian assistance.

An average of 1,800 South Sudanese citizens have been arriving daily in Uganda over the past 12 months, the UNHCR said in a statement. Another one million or more South Sudanese are sheltering in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Congo and Central African Republic.

The number of people fleeing jumped after deadly fighting again erupted in South Sudan's capital, Juba, in July 2016.

"Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription," the statement said.

"With refugees still arriving in their thousands, the amount of aid we are able to deliver is increasingly falling short."

South Sudanese refugees travelling to their new settlements in Uganda. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

A fundraising summit hosted by Uganda in June raised only a fraction of the $2 billion that Ugandan officials have said is needed to sufficiently look after the refugees and the communities hosting them.

Most of the refugees are women and children fleeing violence, often along ethnic lines, since the world's newest country erupted into violence in December 2013.

Ugandan refugee officials have repeatedly warned the influx is straining the country's ability to be generous to the refugees, who often are given small plots of land for building temporary shelters and planting crops when they arrive.

The largest of the settlements hosting refugees from South Sudan, Bidi Bidi, is roughly 230 square kilometers (88.8 sq. miles).

The World Food Program cut food rations for some refugees amid funding shortages in June.

Hot meals distributed to new arrivals at Imvepi Registration Centre, Uganda. Picture: Kieran Doherty/Oxfam

The U.N. says at least $674 million is needed to support South Sudanese refugees in Uganda this year, although only a fifth of that amount has been received.

The money is needed to provide basic services, including stocking clinics with medicines and putting up schools. Aid agencies say classroom sizes in the few available schools often exceed 200 pupils, and other children have dropped out because the nearest schools are located miles away.

"The funding shortfall in Uganda is now significantly impacting the abilities to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services," the UNHCR statement said.

Fighting persists in parts of South Sudan despite multiple cease-fire agreements. Rebel forces said Tuesday they had reclaimed their stronghold of Pagak in the northeast, less than a week after being pushed out by government forces.

Both sides have committed serious rights violations, including murder and rape, against civilians, according to U.N. investigators.

- AP