Consolidated Appeal for Uganda 2006
Recent developments in the twenty-year-old conflict in northern Uganda have thrust it back into the world’s attention. Elements of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have moved between southern Sudan and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), re-igniting potential for regional instability. Also, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for several senior LRA leaders, the consequences of which remain to be seen. These developments have added new challenges to the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict with unpredictable humanitarian consequences. The ICC indictees could touch off conflict in neighbouring Sudan and DRC, inflaming existing tensions, reducing the chance for peace and plunging northern Uganda into a deepening humanitarian crisis. On the other hand, the arrest warrants could be served, the indictees surrender or are captured, leading to overall peace and improved security in northern Uganda bringing relief and return home to conflict-shattered families. Or the status quo – nearly two million displaced people living in conflict, poverty and fear - could continue into its third decade.
The current humanitarian and human rights situation in the northern and northeastern conflict-affected districts remains dire, especially for women and children, and could further deteriorate if urgently needed assistance is not provided. However, it is important to note that conditions vary from area to area. In Acholiland (Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts), parts of Katakwi, Apac, Lira and Adjumani districts, approximately 1.7 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) continue to live in squalid conditions in over 200 overcrowded camps, relying largely on external assistance for survival. Access is restricted by the security conditions. At the same time, due to improved security in southern parts of Apac and Lira, and in Kaberamaido, Soroti and much of Katakwi districts, approximately 400,000 IDPs have returned or are returning to their villages in order to access their fields. There are an unknown number of IDPs living in refugee-hosting districts such as Adjumani, Moyo, Hoima and Masindi whose needs must be addressed. In the Karamoja sub-region, unsustainable pastoral practices, intermittent drought and a deteriorating security situation have combined to perpetuate a fragile food security situation.
A number of assessments conducted in 2004 and 2005 underscored the appalling conditions in the IDP camps and Karamoja:
- A Health and Mortality Survey (July 2005) conducted in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts revealed crude and under-five mortality rates (CMR and U5 MR) of 1.54/10,000/day and 3.18/10,000/day respectively due to primarily to malaria/fever, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and violence;
- A Health and Nutrition Assessment conducted in August 2004 revealed a CMR of 3.9/10,000/day in Karamoja;
- A National Sero-prevalence and Behavioural Survey in 2005 revealed higher level of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno-deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) prevalence in the conflict-affected areas of northern Uganda (9.1% on average) compared to the national average (7%), requiring urgent multi-sector response.
The congestion in the IDP camps contributes to poor water and sanitation, human rights abuses including sexual and gender-based violence, disease outbreaks and wild fires, among others. In order to improve the general humanitarian situation, government and its humanitarian partners must scale up inter-sector initiatives in the camps in accordance with the National IDP Policy and relevant international human rights and humanitarian instruments while at the same time actively pursue a sustainable and secure return of IDPs to their places of origin.
The priority humanitarian actions for the next 12 months consist of:
(1) Provision of coordinated rights-based life-saving assistance in emergency situations in the following order: food aid, water and sanitation, health and nutrition including HIV/AIDS, protection/human rights/rule of law, education, agriculture, coordination and support services, economic recovery and infrastructure, multi-sector refugee assistance, family shelter and non-food items, mine action and staff safety and security;
(2) Inter-sector assistance to support improved livelihoods, including strengthening beneficiary and national institutional capacities, in secure return and resettlement areas.
The humanitarian partners appeal for US$ 223 million to complement the efforts of the Government of Uganda in addressing these basic needs.