Burundi + 5 more

Affected Populations in the Great Lakes Region as of 31 Jan 2003




(In figures)

July 2002


July 2002


July 2002





















































The information presented in this document represents best estimates of the number of displaced, refugees and vulnerable populations throughout the Great Lakes Region. Sources of the information contained in this document include UN agencies, NGOs, the Red Cross family, central governments and local authorities. Internally displaced people are those who have been forced to move out of their residences and who are living dispersed in the bush, with host families or in other sites. The information is organised by country, location, category and national origin. The total population figures per country are taken from the World Fact Book published by the U.S. Government.

Regional Peace - Are We Getting There?

The Great Lakes region witnessed hitherto unexpected positive developments during the quarter under review. But the overall situation remains precarious, some would aver, even worse. War has continued in the eastern part of the DRC, northern Uganda and in Burundi. However all is not as discouraging as it may seem. The crucibles of the malaise in the region, DRC and Burundi, are showing signs of progress, with several significant agreements between the parties to the conflicts and armed groups in both countries. But the picture is far from clear-cut: the region's number of affected population has inched upwards by half a million people, fighting has blighted the December All Inclusive Agreement in the DRC, and some key armed groups in Burundi continue to insist on conditions before negotiations can commence even as the country approaches the crucial and delicate changeover in the Transitional National Government leadership, scheduled for May 2003.

In Uganda, humanitarian access to IDPs as well as the security of mainly Sudanese refugees remains issues of concern. Settlement of the conflict has been and continues to be frustrated by lack of clear government policy on the conflict with the twin strategy of simultaneously pursuing peace talks even as it seeks to defeat the Lords Resistance Army by military means.

Refugee movement has been to and fro during the intervening period, with fighting in the Kivu and Orientale provinces of the DRC outpouring refugees into Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi (itself reeling from the effects of continuing conflict). The apparent restoration of a semblance of normalcy in Angola following the killing of perennial rebel Jonas Savimbi in February 2002, and the subsequent cease-fire agreement between the government and the mainstream rebel movement UNITA may finally relieve the DRC of its largest refugee caseload, Angolans.

The withdrawal of foreign troops from the DRC during the period under review initially heightened fears of a vacuum that could lead to widespread disorder and intense conflict as competing local rebel groups and militias sought to establish authority in areas from which occupying forces, particularly the Rwandan army, were withdrawing from. Briefly it looked as though this might come to pass as the Mai Mai miliatiamen battled RCD-Goma units in the Kivu provinces. However, a tense calm prevails in the region with disastrous humanitarian consequences. Thousands of people have been driven into exile and many more internally displaced. In the North and the Northeast, the fighting between various groups has turned North Kivu and parts of Orientale provinces into the worst pockets of humanitarian disaster in the whole of the Great Lakes Region over the past few months.

The withdrawal of foreign forces from the DRC has also re-ignited the peace agenda in both Burundi and the DRC. In these countries, and to an extent in Rwanda as well, a redefinition of strategy brought back to the fore the Inter Congolese Dialogue, stalled for months earlier in the year, culminating in an all-inclusive Agreement as the year came to a close. It remains to be seen whether the internal parties to the DRC will carry through with the latest in a litany of Accords. The flipside of these developments has not been entirely satisfactory. RCD-Goma and the Rwandan government engaged in the active encouragement of Congolese refugees to return to eastern DRC. 9,500 were repatriated in this manner before the operations were ceased mid-September, and thousands of people were displaced as fighting continued in the Kivus and Orientale provinces.

Human rights continue to be of major concern region wide. An army massacre in Burundi, two mass graves in the DRC and a host of what have now become routine abuses continue to occur in the region. Agreements for the cessation of child-soldier recruitment by fighting outfits continue to be entirely ignored or disregarded. In Orientale, the UN confirmed serious allegations of human rights abuses at the beginning of the year 2003. Cases of cannibalism by the MLC and associated militia and by the Mai Mai have attracted widespread condemnation and are certain to generate further censure from the international community.

With increases in instability in the DRC, Central African Republic and Burundi, many people have fled to Tanzania, whose traditionally hospitable population and government are getting restless and increasingly impatient with the continued stay of hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers. The change of attitude was remarkable during the period under review, with the Government of Tanzania actively agitating for the establishment of safe havens in Burundi to allow the in excess of 800,000 Burundian refugees to return home. It is an ominous sign of the increasing toll that the conflicts in the region have and continue to impose on the hitherto-thought inexhaustible patience and hospitality of Tanzania and Tanzanians. The repatriation of Rwandan refugees, on the other hand, went well and at the end of 2002, there were only a few left in the country, a pattern the Government is anxious to see replicated in Burundi, despite the ongoing, and even escalation of fighting and consequent insecurity there.

While humanitarian access remains difficult in many parts of the countries in the region, human suffering of the affected populations has been exacerbated by the continuing use of warfare tactics targeting more and more civilians. Fighting in the DRC temporarily displaced 17,000 Sudanese refugees in Aru, northeastern Ituri (DRC) during the reporting period. In Uganda, IDPs and refugees continue to be targeted by the LRA. In a climate of widespread insecurity and access difficulties, as prevailed in most parts of eastern and northeastern DRC during the period under review, aid agencies have found it hard to reach in excess of 1 million IDPs who remained inaccessible by year's end. Furthermore, the general state of insecurity in many parts of the region has also resulted in intimidation and harassment, including hostage taking of humanitarian personnel, with some being declared persona non grata and others deliberately targeted by combatants.

In November 2002, the UN launched the Consolidated Appeals (CAP) for 2003 in the respective countries - the DRC, Burundi, ROC and Uganda. The total sum of these country appeals is USUS$ 456,722,948. Separately and simultaneously a Regional Consolidated Appeal for the Great Lakes Region, with a total requirement of USUS$ 111 094,859, was launched, to support country efforts and to address the continuing overarching humanitarian needs of the 5,187,768 affected population (IDPs and Refugees) throughout the region. Respectively, the response to the total countries' Appeals stand at US$9,788,538 while the Regional Appeal is resourced to the tune of US$ 363,156.

OCHA Regional Support Office - Central and East Africa
P.O. Box 30218
Nairobi, Kenya
Telephone: +254 2 622 166
Fax: +254 2 622 632

(pdf* format - 680 KB)

MAP - Uganda: Affected Population by Province

MAP - United Republic of Tanzania: Affected Population by Province

MAP - Rwanda: Affected Population by Province

MAP - Republic of Congo: Affected Population by Province

MAP - Democratic Republic of Congo: Affected Population by Province

MAP - Burundi: Affected Population by Province


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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