KAMPALA, UGANDA (AP) — The representative of the United Nations refugee agency in Uganda says "major gaps" in funding are constraining their work in the East African country sheltering 1.3 million refugees.

Joel Boutroue told reporters in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on Thursday that UNHCR in Uganda is operating at only 35% of the total requirements.

The agency's current response plan needs $900 million per year.

At least 70,000 refugees have arrived in Uganda in 2019, many of them fleeing violence in neighboring Congo and South Sudan.

Uganda has been praised as exemplary for keeping the door open to refugees, but authorities announced this month that they would conduct background checks and demand documentation while screening asylum seekers.

Amid funding shortfalls, that directive raised concerns that the government would be restrictive in taking refugees.

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