Affected Population in the Great Lakes Region (displaced - refugees) 24 Dec 1999

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 24 Dec 1999


Office of the Regional Humanitarian Advisor for the Great Lakes, OCHA Nairobi
Updated version as of 24 December 1999

The information presented in this document represents identified and 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 or in sites. The information is organised by country, by location, by category and by national origin. The total population figures per country are taken from the World Fact Book published by the U.S. Government.

From August to December 1999, the total number of affected populations rose from 3,932,421 to 4,290,421 (i.e. 9 %). Whereas the total number of refugees decreased (from 1,042,048 in August 1999 to 933,894 today) mostly due to a re-registration exercise in Tanzania and the repatriation of RoC citizens who had sought refuge in DRC; the number of internally displaced persons is on the rise (17 % in a four-month period). The most dramatic increase is registered in RoC where the total number of IDPs rose from 331,625 to 801,000 (i.e. 150 %). This means that today, IDPs represent one third of the total population of the country. In the DRC, the number of IDPs has increased by 21%, which is unacceptably high particularly when considering that the belligerents have signed a cease-fire agreement in August. The increase of 28 % in Burundi is however not surprising as the confrontations between rebel factions and the Government of Burundi have significantly increased over the reporting period, with a continuation of the regroupment policy by the Government.

Under these circumstances, the humanitarian situation of the affected populations has further deteriorated. Displacement, looting and drought combined to further increase rates of malnutrition. In RoC, thousands of adults are also affected by severe malnutrition. Cholera and other contagious diseases are spreading fast, exhausting the scarce resources of humanitarian operators.

There has been, however, a commendable number of initiatives, efforts and talks all aiming at ending ongoing conflicts and reaching peace in the concerned countries. Foremost, the DRC cease-fire agreement that continues to attract international attention. Far from the limelight, in RoC some parties to the conflict also signed a cease-fire agreement on 16 November. In Uganda, one more amnesty bill has been adopted in an effort to reintegrate the rebels back into society. In Burundi, the nomination of Nelson Mandela as mediator signals that the Arusha Peace Talks are still on.

Alas, these efforts are far from bearing the expected fruits as peace in the Great Lakes Region is still out of reach and civilian populations continue to suffer from the protracted wars and conflicts. The resumption of hostilities in DRC and RoC despite the cease-fire agreements mentioned above, the deterioration of the situation in Burundi and renewed violence in western Uganda, are all discouraging signs signifying that the region is yet to find a way to lasting peace. More preoccupying is the dramatic increase in violation of human rights and humanitarian principles. The known numbers of rape in RoC is on the rise, thousands of abducted children are still missing in Uganda and civilians are regrouped in Burundi and continuously and violently looted in the DRC. Furthermore, those who spare no efforts to ease the suffering of the people are also shockingly targeted (the October killing of our two UN colleagues in Burundi is the sad proof of this horrible reality).

Faced with such a deleterious situation, it is utterly urgent to find ways and means to protect civilians and humanitarian workers and to obtain the unconditional respect of human rights, humanitarian principles and international law. In several countries, UN agencies elaborated Principles of Engagement and/or Ground Rules outlining rights and duties of all involved, unfortunately with very little results. The question therefore remains: are human rights and humanitarian principles violated out of ignorance or sheer contempt? If the answer is the latter, humanitarian agencies can not achieve much without the direct involvement of the larger international community. The power lies in the hands of the international community that can use various means to put pressure on the parties to the conflict in all concerned countries.


Internally Displaced
Refugees
UAC/Abducted Children
TOTAL
Burundi
791,421
21,864
7,000
820,285
RoC
801,000
29,626
-
830,626
DRC
916,000
254,826
-
1,170,826
Rwanda
150,000
33,325
6,000
319,325*
Tanzania
N/A
339,474
1,938
341,412
Uganda
548,668
195,261
4,804
748,733
Other
-
59,518
-
59,518
TOTAL
3,207,089
933,894
19,742
4,290,725
* Includes 130,000 detainees.

BURUNDI

Total Population: 6,480,662

LOCATION
ORIGIN
FIGURES
COMMENT
Bubanza Burundi
155,870
Estimated number of IDPs in sites
Bujumbura (Mairie & Rural) Burundi
322,336
Same as above
Bururi Burundi
85,781
Same as above
Gitega Burundi
21,050
Same as above
Karuzi Burundi
12,106
Same as above
Kayanza Burundi
26,269
Same as above
Kirundo Burundi
5,886
Same as above
Makamba Burundi
85,680
Same as above
Muramvya Burundi
22,506
Same as above
Muyinga Burundi
16,473
Same as above
Ngozi Burundi
20,485
Same as above
Rutana Burundi
16,279
Same as above
Ruyigi Burundi
700
Same as above
Burundi DRC
20,482
Refugees (includes estimated figure for 1960s refugee caseload)
Burundi Rwanda
1,361
Refugees
Burundi Burundi
7,000
Approximate number of UACs
Refugee figures provided by UNHCR (as of November), IDP figures provided by OCHA/Burundi (as of December) and UAC figure by UNICEF (as of November).
Displaced Population
Refugee Population
UAC Population
Total Affected Population
791,421
21,864
7,000
820,285

Humanitarian Situation

At the eighth regional summit, under the chairmanship of Ugandan President Museveni, former South African President Mandela was nominated as mediator of the Burundi peace process. Official reaction has been positive from the government despite misgivings of the choice to continue talks in Tanzania. As for the opposition parties, the reception of the designation has been rather positive with the exception of PALIPEHUTU. Mandela has called for negotiations to resume in February with the inclusion of all parties to the conflict. The modalities for inclusion, however, remain to be determined. Meanwhile, three of the four committees have resumed talks in Arusha on 6 December to discuss democratisation and governance, peace and security.

Meanwhile, the Burundian political scene has witnessed the creation of two rather unholy political alliances. The Convergence Nationale pour la Paix et la Reconciliation (CNPR) created in October brings together ten parties, including the internal wing of FRODEBU and UPRONA (party of President Buyoya) and other Tutsi parties, and is perceived as being close to the power structures. The Alliance Nationale pour le Changement (ANAC) created in December, on the other hand, brings together nine hard-liners, known for their hostility to President Buyoya; it includes the external wing of FRODEBU and PARENA (party of former President Bagaza).

The killing of two UN staff members on 12 October, while on a humanitarian assessment mission, to the southeastern province of Rutana severely shook the humanitarian community in the country. Insecurity continues to plague large parts of the country. Attacks continue in Bujumbura Rural but appear to aim at military positions. Sporadic clashes with the army in the central and northern provinces of Kayanza, Muramvya and Ngozi are attributed to rebels on their way to the Kibira Forest, a mountainous ridge cutting across the middle of the country. As for the southern part of the country, the number of military operations and rebel attacks remains high.

In the wake of the killings of the UN staff in October, the UN suspended all travel outside the capital which forestalled assessment, monitoring and evaluation activities. Meanwhile, most NGOs have continued to work throughout the country with the exception of certain more insecure areas. By mid-November, however, WFP resumed distributions to displaced and drought-affected populations with distributions carried out by NGOs. UNICEF’s activities are carried out through their usual NGO partners. Activities favour children who are AIDS orphans, street children and family reunification. Finally, UNICEF has been training sanitation technicians in the northeast of the country and hygiene staff in 18 camps for displaced in the southern province of Makamba.

The security protocol between the Government and the UN should be finalised before the end of the year allowing the UN to fully resume humanitarian activities. Salient features of the protocol include the establishment of security cells within the Government and the UN to allow the organisation of UN missions in the country and the use of armed escorts for missions outside the capital. The Government has submitted its final investigation report on the killings in Rutana to the UN Secretary-General on 7 December. Finally, UN Security Officers travelled to the more secure parts of the country to undertake a security assessment with a view to downgrade the security phase.

Concern continues to be expressed on the policy of regroupment, more recently during the eighth Arusha summit but the Government has clearly indicated that the policy is not for discussion. As of 15 December, a total of 313,511 have been regrouped in 52 sites in Bujumbura Rural, with more than 15 NGOs providing assistance to 44 sites. Daily coordination meetings are organised and attended by NGOs, UN agencies and governmental authorities. In addition, cholera cases are registered in areas south of Bujumbura. The situation is under control so far but remains a major cause of concern.

Regroupment was recently extended to two other provinces. In Rutana, in the southwest border of the country with Tanzania, 16,279 people have been regrouped in 13 sites. In the central province of Muramvya, adjoining Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza to the west, the population of two collines (around 500 households) has been regrouped in early December near the Kibira forest. This site is not accessible due to security conditions.

An issue of serious concern to the humanitarian community is the drought that struck the country during the last planting season (September to October) and the early plant growth stage of the current season (September-January) irreversibly damaging plant growth. It should be noted that this drought follows on the heels of drought in the last two planting seasons. Initial reports indicate that approximately a quarter of the population - 1,656,184 - could be affected by the drought. The situation is particularly alarming in the northeastern province of Kirundo, where it is expected that 60% of its half million population will be affected. Mortality cases have already been reported and prices for staple food have doubled.

It is foreseen that food assistance will be necessary until the harvest of the upcoming season in May. It is also expected that due to the drought, food and seed prices will rise. It should be noted that given the higher market prices in neighbouring Rwanda, there is a tendency for produce and seeds to be sold across the border.

In November and again in mid-December, a large number of Burundians arrived in Tanzania. There are reports that some people are fleeing from the drought affected areas due to food insecurity.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO (RoC)

Total Population: 2,658,123

LOCATION ORIGIN
FIGURES
COMMENT
Bouenza
RoC
60,000
Estimated IDPs
Brazzaville
RoC
73,000
Estimated IDPs
Brazzaville
RoC
231,000
Estimated returning IDPs
Dolisie
RoC
20,000
Estimated returning IDPs
Lekoumou
RoC
68,000
Estimated IDPs
Niari
RoC
95,000
Estimated IDPs
Nkayi
RoC
10,000
Estimated IDPs
Nkayi
RoC
60,000
Estimated returning IDPs
Pointe Noire
RoC
80,000
Estimated IDPs
Pool
RoC
104,000
Estimated IDPs
Pointe Noire
Angola
6,040
Assisted refugee population
Pointe Noire
Angola
14,939
Urban refugees (some assisted)
Brazzaville
DRC
1,500
Urban refugees (some assisted)
Kintele
Rwanda
4,166
Assisted refugee population
Loukolela
Rwanda
2,723
Assisted refugee population
Impfondo
Rwanda
258
Assisted refugee population
Refugee figures, as of 30 October, provided by UNHCR. IDP figures as of 13 December provided by the UN.
Displaced Population
Refugee Population
Total Affected Population
801,000
29,626
830,626

Humanitarian Situation

Reported diplomatic initiatives to resolve the conflict in the RoC as well as the adoption of an amnesty bill by the cabinet in early December for war related crimes has yet to bear fruit. A cease fire agreement signed on 16 November between an army commander and various rebel militias has been condemned by key political opposition figures abroad. Meanwhile the regional alliance among the governments of RoC, DRC and Angola was strengthened with the signing of an accord on internal security on 3 December.

On the humanitarian front, timid gains have been made in extending the humanitarian space outside the main capitals but it still is considered insufficient. Serious concerns remain at the level of security that can be provided for humanitarian workers. Of significance is the drafting of UN Ground Rules for access to the affected regions, notably the provision for military escorts for all humanitarian missions. WFP will lead logistics in the south and UNHCR in the north.

Following the extraordinary high rate of movement into Brazzaville by residents of the capital and IDPs in July and August, the influx levelled in September and October and by November was decreasing considerably. The decrease has been partly attributed to a timid yet promising stabilisation of the humanitarian situation in southern Pool. Disturbing reports of serious violations of human rights of the population moving towards the capital by the army and allied militias continues, including summary executions and rape.

The numbers of internally displaced people have been upwardly revised to take into account the several thousand persons who are displaced in rural areas where no humanitarian assistance has been provided largely due to insecurity. Nonetheless, as of October a number of humanitarian organisations began providing assistance to Kinkala, the main town of the Pool region. It should be noted that towns just past Kinkala remain difficult to reach. Observers have registered that many people are currently returning to villages in the area following improved security conditions and the arrival of humanitarian workers.

Regular food distribution to the southern regions of Niari and Bouenza will start in the coming weeks, once a UN outpost is established in Nkayi. The majority of the population is returning to Nkayi and the town is also host to 10,000 IDPs. The population of Dolisie, on the other hand, further west on the railroad linking Brazzaville to Pointe Noire, has yet to return in significant numbers. The town was thoroughly destroyed and looted and, currently, there are no public services. The local timber economy is yet to pick up.

The army has also supplied assistance to Kindamba, northwest of Brazzaville, home to 25,000 prior to the war. There are reports that there is a spontaneous site of 1,700 being maintained in town. The security situation around Kindamba, however, remains precarious preventing the international humanitarian community from having access to the town.

Flooding in the northern regions of Plateaux and Cuvette is affecting approximately 50,000. Of serious concern is the health situation of the population. It is also expected that food production will decrease as a result of the floods.

A polio vaccination campaign began in late October but was only carried out in Brazzaville, Pointe Noire, Kinkala and Kindamba. The first round covered 60% of the target population of 400,000.

Whereas oil production has continued unhindered by the war, the average Congolese is seriously affected by the war. The timber industry remains paralysed as access to areas outside main towns is not secure while sugar production has resumed in Nkayi. Salaries for civil servants, who play a significant role in the formal economy, are paid on an irregular basis. In addition, one of the main banks of the country is facing serious liquidity problems and fuel shortages have been experienced in Brazzaville. It has been noted, recently, that malnutrition has started affecting the population of the capital who have not been displaced since the beginning of the war. A survey by an NGO showed that about a fifth of the beneficiaries in two nutritional centres had never been displaced from Brazzaville.

Following months of preparation, the resettlement of the Rwandan and Burundian refugees in RoC began in December. It is expected that approximately 2,000 will be installed in 69 villages in the regions of Cuvette, Plateaux and Sangha.

The rate of return of RoC refugees from DRC has lowered considerably, with approximately 11,000 choosing to remain in DRC.

Intense fighting and aerial bombardments in the DRC in December have resulted in the flight of thousands of people across the border to RoC. Early estimates indicate that about 13,000 people have sought refuge in the northern area of Impfondo. The refugees are staying in villages or temporary settlements along the river where they have been able to fish and farm. A couple of hundred have reportedly moved to Impfondo town.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (DRC)

Total Population: 49,000,511

LOCATION
ORIGIN
FIGURES
COMMENT
Equateur, Mongala
DRC
120,000
Estimated displaced figure.
Katanga, Haut Lomami
Haut Shaba
Tanganyika
DRC
43,000
50,000
100,000
Estimated displaced figure.
Maniema
DRC
20,000
Estimated displaced figure.
North Kivu*
DRC
155,000
Estimated displaced figure.
Orientale, Tshopo
Ituri
Haut Uele
DRC
50,000
100,000
25,000
Estimated displaced figure.
South Kivu
DRC
180,000
Estimated displaced figure.
Eastern Kasai, Sankuru
Kabinda
DRC
30,000
30,000
Estimated displaced figure.
Kinshasa
DRC
13,000
Estimated displaced figure.
Bas-Congo,
Mbanza Ngungu
Luozi
Kasangulu
ROC
6,000
1,493
3,294
146
Estimated refugee figure.
Assisted refugee caseload.
Same as above.
Same as above.
Kinshasa
Bas-Congo, Kimpese
Bandundu, Kahemba
Katanga, Kisenge
Angola
3,000
29,772
7,943
43,515
Assisted urban refugees.
Assisted refugee caseload.
Same as above.
Same as above.
DRC
Angola
62,000
Non-assisted refugee population.
Bas-Congo, Tshela
Angola
2,277
Assisted refugee caseload.
Mbuji-Mayi & Bukavu
Burundi
620
Assisted refugee caseload.
South Kivu
Burundi
19,000
Estimated non-assisted refugees.
Orientale, Aru
Uganda
2,301
Refugee figure.
Orientale, Aru
Sudan
38,940
34,525
Assisted refugee caseload.
Non-assisted refugee caseload.
* Registered displaced population ONLY – no registration in Masisi and Walikale due to insecurity. Refugee figures, as of 30 October, provided by UNHCR. IDP figures as of 15 November provided by OCHA.
Displaced Population
Refugee Population
Total Affected Population
916,000
254,826
1,170,826
Due to insecurity, lack of access and non-qualification for international protection, Rwandan refugee figures not available.

Humanitarian Situation

The search for a permanent solution to the conflict in the DRC continues, albeit at a very slow pace. An encouraging sign after the signing of the Lusaka cease-fire agreement, and before reports in early November of massive clashes in Equateur, is the apparent restraint of all parties to the conflict from seeking territorial gains through military means. Notwithstanding, low scale fighting, insurgency and counter-insurgency, reinforcement of military positions and military build-up leading to claims of cease-fire violations by all sides continued to circulate during September and October. By early November reports of substantial military confrontations over the control of key towns in Equateur, reportedly in the context of the war against negative forces particularly the Interahamwe, emerged.

The UN has deployed some 70 Military Liaison Officers (MLOs) in the DRC and neighbouring capitals; including 8 MLOs to eastern DRC. The deployment of MLOs to field locations was preceded by a DPKO technical survey team mission to assess the situation on the ground. The team was authorised to fly to Gbadolite, Goma, Bukavu, Kisangani and Kananga only after protracted negotiations and the intervention of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the DRC peace process. In total, some 18 proposed deployment locations throughout the DRC are to be assessed.

Meanwhile, on 30 November the Security Council voted unanimously to adopt resolution 1279 (1999), requesting the Secretary-General to equip up to 500 United Nations military observers with a view to facilitate future rapid deployment when authorised by the Security Council. In addition, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC has been appointed. Many of the tasks drawn in the cease-fire agreement remain to be implemented by the signatories.

In its plenary sessions of 11-12 October and 30 October-6 November in Kampala and Lusaka respectively, the Joint Military Commission (JMC) stated that humanitarian activities will have to be authorised by the commission. This provision raises serious concerns amongst UN and NGO relief agencies as it is in contradiction to the agreed - Principles of Engagement for Emergency Humanitarian Assistance in the DRC - and could lead to additional delays in the provision of humanitarian aid. OCHA will continue to lobby on behalf of the humanitarian community to ensure that this proviso is revised.

Four regional JMC centres, equipped with OAU military observers, have also been established in Kabinda, Boende, Lisala and Kabalo. Moreover, the JMC created four working groups one of which is on the determination of humanitarian corridors, exchange of prisoners of war and working relations with the ICRC. This group’s first meeting held in Harare (29 November-6 December), chaired by Namibia and attended by OCHA and the ICRC, reaffirmed the commitment to international law of the signatories, received the commitment of all parties to support all actions that alleviate human suffering, assured the right of access to vulnerable populations and confirmed the obligation of all parties to create the appropriate security conditions and invited OCHA and the ICRC on behalf of the humanitarian community to collaborate closely with the JMC, including regional JMC centres.

During 6-8 October, the DRC authorities convened in Kinshasa a preparatory forum for the national debate attended by members of civil society and church groups from government controlled areas. Very few representatives from the Kivus attended the meeting. The Banyamwlenge community of South Kivu voiced its discontent for not being included and stated that the process has to be all-inclusive to achieve lasting peace in the Kivus. Reportedly, in mid-December the OAU designated the former president of Botswana as mediator of the inter-Congolese internal dialogue.

The suffering of the average Congolese citizen continues. Ethnic impunity and hatred, regular attacks by negative forces, retaliation by one side of the conflict or another against civilians for alleged support of the other side continues to force people to seek refuge in neighbouring countries and hundreds of thousands to remain displaced and dispersed in the bush. The strict monetary policies introduced by the government in Kinshasa in mid September has only served to further weaken the coping mechanisms of urban populations and reduce humanitarian budgets by a four-fold margin. In urban centres, the precarious food insecurity situation is demonstrated by an estimated 10.5 per cent vulnerability index in Kinshasa, 6 percent in Kananga and 5 per cent in Mbuji-Mayi.

On average, some 150 Congolese refugees were registered per week in Tanzania since the end of August 1999. Compared to the rates of June and July, the number of Congolese seeking refuge in neighbouring countries decreased significantly. Displacement remains the preferred option. Locations, numbers and needs of the displaced have been better defined following a number of assessment missions completed during the reporting period. An evaluation exercise was carried out in Katanga during a two and a half week period to - amongst other objectives - define the extent, the causes and the nature of displacement in the province. In the last week of August 1999, a preliminary assessment team visited Kalemie and Katana, followed by an inter-agency assessment, in the first week of October, of Kalemie, Moba, Nyunzu and a number of villages south of Moba. Uvira, Fizi, Mbandaka, Gemena, Aru and Ituri district were also assessed. Medical and food assistance was provided to some 40,000 IDPs in Katanga. The scene of a violent ethnic conflict between the Bahema and the Balendu, in Province Orientale the team estimated that up to 100,000 people have been displaced. NGOs and the Red Cross family are providing emergency medical assistance to some 50,000 IDPs in Kibali-Ituri region and the ICRC is providing NFIs and half ration food to some 85,000 IDPs in Djugu territory. Notwithstanding, overall access to vulnerable populations is irregular largely due to insecurity.

Since 25 November, floods that affected 15 of the 24 districts of Kinshasa left thousands of families homeless. It is reported that some 40,000 people have been evacuated to 29 sites. A crisis cell, chaired by the Minister of Health, was set up to coordinate assistance. Work is progressing in food assistance, health, shelter and contingency planning. Although serious, the current situation is not catastrophic.

The third round of the National Immunisation Days was completed in October. UNICEF’s and WHO’s initial results indicate that overall coverage was 85 per cent of a total target population of 6 million children. Meanwhile, during the reporting period, cholera epidemics were registered in parts of North Kivu, South Kivu and Province Orientale and cases of meningitis were recorded in Lubumbashi in mid-October. Interventions by the UN and NGOs contained the situation. In the second week of November WHO reported that two new suspected cases of haemorhagic fever (both died), one in Watsa and the other in Durba, were observed in Province Orientale.

Following two airlifts to Cameroon, a total of 1,300 exposed persons were transported under the auspices of IOM. In addition, 600 persons were transported by the ICRC. The operation is now considered complete, except for 113 selected cases. However, there are preoccupations over persons separated from their families during the selection process. 680 persons remain in the Institut National de Sécurité Sociale (INSS) centre in Kinshasa.

While Congolese refugees in Tanzania and Zambia and IDPs originally from the Masisi area are reluctant to return, a return of refugees from Rwanda to North Kivu (particularly Masisi) is being observed. In Bas Congo, preparations for the voluntary repatriation of some 1,350 ROC refugees and the transfer of some 400 refugees from Luozi to Mbanza Ngungu have been delayed by the onset of the rainy season. New arrivals from ROC into Bas Congo and Bandundu, although at a lower rate in comparison to previous months, are being registered. Many of the new arrivals are in search of medical attention and food rather than protection, some 40 per cent of those who arrived during the last week of November were referred to MSF. High levels of acute and chronic malnutrition are reported in parts of Bas Congo where ROC refugees are found (ROC refugees are possibly exacerbating the situation). In the meantime and as of 1 November, a total of 40,626 ROC refugees were assisted by UNHCR to repatriate to Brazzaville; in addition to 10,812 assisted by the Direction Générale des Migrations. Finally, during the period 2-13 November, UNHCR assisted 1,331 voluntary repatriation cases of Congolese refugees from the Central African Republic to Kinshasa.

The worsening military situation in Angola has generated an increased refugee influx into the DRC. There are unconfirmed reports of some four to five thousand refugees who have crossed into Bandundu province. The influx of Angolan refugees into Bas Congo and Katanga provinces continues.

RWANDA

Total Population: 7,956,172

LOCATION
ORIGIN
FIGURES
COMMENT
Gisenyi
Rwanda
60,000 *
Estimated recently re-located population.
Ruhengeri
Rwanda
90,000 *
Estimated recently re-located population.
Rwanda
Rwanda
6,000
Estimated number of UAC.
Rwanda
Rwanda
130,000
Detainee figures.
Gikongoro
Burundi
462
Refugees.
Byumba
DRC
16,964
Refugees.
Cyangugu
DRC
33
Refugees.
Kigali
Various
1,600
Estimated urban refugees.
Kibuye
DRC
14,266
Refugees.
Refugee figures provided by UNHCR.. IDP figures provided by GoR/OCHA/WFP/FAO, detainee figure by ICRC and UAC figures by WFP. * Estimated figures of displaced people receiving direct humanitarian assistance. An additional estimated 300,000 plus are still living in inadequate shelter in the northwest.
Displaced Population
Refugee Population
UAC Population
Detainee Population
Total Affected Population
150,000
33,325
6,000
130,000
319,325

Humanitarian Situation

Following a joint UN, EU, FEWS, MINAGRI food assessment (2-5 November), an immediate and mid-term response was recommended to the drought situation in the prefectures of Umutara, Kibungo and to a lesser extent, Byumba, Gikongoro and Cyangugu. The Ministry of Agriculture and FAO recommended that 178,912 families in the east and south should be assisted with food and 100,000 families should be assisted with seeds and tools at a cost of US$ 12 million. Those most affected were the people in Imidugudu (resettlement villages) in Kibungo and Umutara, areas which regularly experience poor rainfall and lack infrastructure. 44,000 families are currently receiving assistance from WFP and other partners. A review of the situation and a crop assessment to establish the needs for the coming season is underway. Results are expected at the end of January 2000. Nutrition surveys and an impact assessment are planned for early 2000.

The November assessment did note, however, that there was a general improvement in agricultural production in the Northwest, West and Southwest of the country due to favourable security and climactic conditions. Imports of staple foods from the DRC are helping to maintain market supplies and hence averting a precarious food situation that could have been caused by the drought. With the onset of the rainy season, the situation in other areas would appear to be stabilising. In general, farmers in Gisenyi and Ruhengeri are expecting a good harvest of staple crops in the season 2000A and the surplus is expected to benefit other parts of the country. Though most of the staple food prices have remained low most of the year, purchasing power is limited and an estimated 70% of Rwanda’s population continue to live under the poverty line.

Rwandese nationals in Eastern DRC continue to return to Rwanda mainly from the Masisi and Rutshuru areas at the rate of 300 to 500 persons a week. The majority of the returnees are women and children. So far, some 30,612 have returned from the DRC. Meanwhile efforts to facilitate voluntary repatriation from Tanzania continue.

The compulsory use of military escorts by the UN on the Kigali-Ruhengeri road was re-introduced on 17 December. The decision was made following confirmation of a security incident involving the Interhamwe in Kigombe (Ruhengeri) on the night of 12-13 December. UN agencies will also continue to use military convoys to carry out activities in communes far from the main roads.

One thousand five hundred ex-FAR soldiers have recently completed a two-month "sensitisation" programme, marking their reintegration into the army or civilian life. According to the Government about 10,000 ex-FAR were absorbed into the army last year.

Economic and political reform is moving apace. With the four-year extension of the interim period of the government of national unity, the government announced its plan of action. It will include the promotion of national security, unity and reconciliation, the establishment of administrative structures, the settlement of people both in rural and urban areas, an improvement in people's welfare by eradicating poverty, promoting the national economy, streamlining Rwanda's foreign policy, and supporting the democratisation process in the country. The first phase in the initiative for privatising state-owned enterprises is reported to have been a success. New budget cuts include a reduction in defence spending, the number of ministries and in foreign embassies which will be reduced by half. These measures are in line with some of the recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it approved a US $32.7 million loan to support Rwanda's economic programme.

Tanzania

Total Population: 30,608,769

LOCATION
ORIGIN
FIGURE
COMMENT
Kigoma
Burundi
189,114
Refugee population.
Kigoma
DRC
97,388
Refugee population.
Kigoma
Mixed
1,223
Refugee population.
Ngara
Burundi
100,729
Refugee population.
Ngara
DRC
13
Refugee population.
Ngara
Rwanda
7,707
Refugee population.
Ngara
Somalia
3,300
Refugee population.
Tanzania
Congolese
240
UAC
Tanzania
Burundian
1,698
UAC
Refugee figures, as of 30 November, provided by UNHCR. UAC figures, as of 1st week of August, provided by UNICEF.
Refugee Population
UAC Population
Total Affected Population
339,474
1,938
341,412

Humanitarian Situation

The government of Tanzania announced the death of former president Mwalimu Julius Nyrere on 14 October following a long battle with leukaemia. He has been credited for his efforts to promote peace and unity in the African continent. Having served as mediator in the Burundi peace talks, the peace process now continues in Arusha under the Mwalimu foundation.

Following the completion of a refugee re-registration exercise on 26 August, an overall reduction in the refugee population of 15.2 per cent was recorded in the Kigoma camps. The first cycle of bi-weekly general food distributions after the re-registration was not without ration card and food list related problems. Delays and postponement of food distributions were experienced in some of the Kasulu and Kibondo camps. A similar re-registration exercise is planned for the camps in Ngara region.

Between January and September 1999, the rate of registered Burundian refugee arrivals in Tanzania stands at an average of 2,790 per month. However, this trend was reversed in October with the escalation of hostilities in Burundi when 6,319 Burundian refugees were registered by UNHCR in Tanzania. UNHCR reports that in November 9,546 Burundian refugees entered Tanzania and that during the first two weeks of December the influx decreased. A dramatic increase in numbers was registered, once again, on 18 and 19 December, with the arrival of 1,180 and 1,200 refugees respectively. However, arrival rates have decreased another round. The latest arrivals are in good physical condition and report to UNHCR that the reasons for their flight are the Burundi Government forcibly recruiting young men and women to fight the rebels, and the rebels, on the other hand, asking civilians to flee to Tanzania.

Reportedly, heavy presence of the Burundian military is preventing free movement of the refugees into Tanzania and that movement is only possible at night. The escalation of hostilities in Burundi led UNHCR to suspend the voluntary repatriation program from Kibondo, Kasulu and Ngara in mid-October and prompted the UN to prepare a contingency plan for a possible influx of up to 300,000 refugees from Burundi.

Due to the saturation of the existing refugee camps, UNHCR opened a new camp at Karago, Kigoma region, on 22 December to receive new arrivals from Burundi.

Following recommendations from the Tripartite Commission on Rwandese repatriation, on 2 September 1999, a group of 68 returnees from the camps in Ngara visited Greater Lukole as part of the facilitated voluntary repatriation strategy. It was decided that, in general, refugees reacted negatively to the strategy, contending that they will decide when it is time to go home. During the month of November, 207 Rwandese refugees were registered arrivals by UNHCR in Tanzania.

The significant reduction in the numbers of Congolese refugees crossing Lake Tanganyika into Tanzania, observed in August 1999, continues. A linkage with the Lusaka cease-fire agreement is evident and continued patrolling of the Lake shore by the rebels is another factor. UNHCR reports that during September and October a total of 1,010 Congolese refugees were registered in Tanzania. In November, only 554 Congolese refugees entered Tanzania.

Following an increase in admissions of local beneficiaries to therapeutic feeding programs, initially designed for the refugee population, UNICEF Tanzania commissioned a nutritional survey of the villages surrounding the camps in the Kagera and Kigoma regions (western Tanzania) in late August. The survey covered 16 villages around five camps in both regions. In general, the results of the survey revealed that the nutritional status of the refugees is almost four to five times better than that of the resident population. This is mainly attributable to poor harvest for two consecutive years, inadequate health and nutrition education and poor care for the under-fives. Similarly, SCF(UK)’s Household Food Economy Analysis carried out in drought affected areas revealed that some 30,000 tons of food will be needed for Dodoma and Singida regions.

UGANDA

Total Population: 22,167,195

LOCATION
ORIGIN
FIGURE
COMMENT
Adjumani
Uganda
10,000
Estimated displaced population
Bundibugyo
Uganda
101,000
Estimated displaced population.
Gulu
Uganda
237,710
Estimated displaced population.
Kabarole
Uganda
15,000
Estimated displaced population.
Kapchorwa
Uganda
5,000
Estimated displaced population.
Kasese
Uganda
30,000
Estimated displaced population.
Kitgum
Uganda
93,000
Estimated displaced population.
Kibaale
Uganda
10,000
Estimated displaced population.
Masindi
Uganda
46,958
Estimated displaced population.
Adjumani
Sudan
71,252
Refugee population.
Arua
Sudan
43,530
Refugee population.
Hoima
DRC
5,766
Refugee population.
Kabarole
DRC
1,621
Refugee population.
Kitgum
Sudan
23,297
Refugee population.
Masindi
Sudan
13,594
Refugee population.
Mbarara
DRC, Rwanda & others
8,504
Refugee population.
Moyo
Sudan
27,426
Refugee population.
Urban refugees
Mixed
271
Refugee population.
Apac
Uganda
83
Abducted children.
Gulu
Uganda
2,717
Abducted children.
Kitgum
Uganda
1,863
Abducted children.
Lira
Uganda
141
Abducted children.
Refugee figures provided by UNHCR. IDP figures provided by OCHA and the GoU, Abducted children figures provided by UNICEF.
Displaced Population
Refugee Population
Abducted Children
Total Affected Population
548,668
195,261
4,804
748,733

Humanitarian Situation

An alternative to the military approach to dealing with the ongoing rebel activity has been made in parliament by the passing of an amnesty bill. The amnesty will initially last for six months and it is an effort to reintegrate the rebels, predominantly the LRA and ADF, back into society. Similar amnesties have been effective in the past in dealing with other rebel groups.

Meanwhile the ongoing insurgencies and insecurity affecting the west, north and eastern districts in the country have resulted in an increased deployment of security forces. A major offensive aimed to flush out the ADF rebels from their Rwenzori hideouts has been launched in the west but the rebels appear to have increased their attacks in response. Scattered ADF attacks continue in Kisomoro sub-county in Kabarole District as well as in Kasese and attacks increased in Bundibugyo since November. Kibaale District also continued to suffer attacks by the ADF in October and early November and now the number of displaced is approximately 10,000. There are also concerns that rebels have infiltrated Mbarara district. In Kyangwali refugee camp in Hoima district, security personnel have advised the refugees to keep alert. Efforts by district officials to hold talks with the ADF rebel commanders have been reported in the press.

Exacerbated by the ongoing conflict, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the western district of Bundibugyo. The displaced population remains relatively constant. However, IDPs are moving frequently to alternate sites in response to new security incidents or in order to increase access to cultivable land. The fluidity of displacement makes accurate numbers difficult to obtain although estimates put the figure at around 80% of the population. The food security situation appears stable with evidence that people are accessing their lands close by but the main concern at the moment is health, malaria in particular.

While the situation remains stable in most of the northern districts of Gulu and Kitgum, following a spate of rebel attacks on their homes in Purongo sub-county, Gulu in September and October, approximately 9,000 residents moved to five camps close to army detachments for protection. There is speculation that attacks are being carried out by a few LRA rebels who have remained in Gulu throughout the year. Pabba IDP site was also attacked during the last month. People are accessing their lands but an atmosphere of wait and see is pervasive at least until after the Christmas period (a traditional time for attacks). In general, many IDPs in Gulu and especially Kitgum are spending increasing amounts of time away from the IDP camps, working on their farms during the day and returning to the security of camps at night. Recent security incidents may discourage more permanent movement of people back to their homes. A summit between Uganda and Sudan, facilitated by the Carter Centre, and the signing of a peace agreement on 8 December, is a hopeful indication that cooperation between the two countries may increase and therefore result in improved internal security.

Preliminary results of an ACF nutritional survey in October in Gulu IDP camps has found a significant improvement in the nutritional situation amongst IDPs. It appears that many of the remaining cases of severe malnutrition reflect either a particularly vulnerable social situation or a temporary lack of adequate food and water for children perhaps due to intense efforts at cultivation away from camps over the past months. A similar assessment in Kitgum is underway. The harvest in Gulu and Kitgum is now almost complete. Prices of basic foods harvested have stabilised. Food availability is reportedly good in Kitgum in both rural and urban areas.

During October, Kasese, Arua, Bundibugyo and Kampala continued to report cases of cholera and Nebbi District reported cases for the first time since April, according to the latest Ministry of Health Cholera Update (10 October 1999). The Ministry of Health reports that there has again been an upsurge of cases reported from Kasese District in late October, especially from the areas bordering DRC. The total number of cases reported since January 1, 1999, is 4,537 with 207 deaths. The Case Fatality Rate is now 4.56%.

An estimated 350 Congolese refugees from Rutshuru, North Kivu, who crossed the border two months ago, have been granted temporary asylum in Kisoro.

Violence amongst the warring tribes in the Karamoja districts of Moroto and Kotido in the east continues. Insecurity and drought are combining to worsen the humanitarian situation in the Karamoja districts of Moroto and Kotido. Efforts by civil society, government officials and the UPDF to engage the Karamojong warriors in dialogue and disarmament continue. Initiatives to counter the chronic under-development of the area are similarly being discussed. However, there is speculation that cross-border commercial interests could be fuelling the cattle rustling endemic in the region and it is undoubtedly exacerbated by the prevalence of weapons and consequent arms-trafficking in the area. An assessment to the area in December warns of an impending emergency. It found that the harvest in 1999 was poor but noted that the previous year had been a bumper year. Insecurity has disrupted the normal pattern of dry season migration and livestock conditions are worse than usual (the main activity of the population is pastoralism). Household food stocks were low and there is widespread moderate malnutrition. Currently, market prices are stable but are expected to rise in the first six months of 2000. Recommendations for assistance, which take into consideration development activities, are currently being elaborated but it is expected that some sort of direct food assistance will be needed.

More than 300 Rwandese ethnic Hutu refugees have crossed into Uganda from Tanzania, since 11 August and nearly 300 Sudanese have crossed in Kotido from southern Sudan in the past month but have now reportedly crossed over into Kenya due to harsh conditions in the Karamajong area. In May and June 1999, a similar influx of approximately 350 Sudanese arrived in Kotido most of whom were children. It is reported that the Sudanese are fleeing inter-tribal fighting between the Didinga and the Dinka.

OTHER

ORIGIN
LOCATION
NEW FIGURE
COMMENT
DRC
CAR
6,000
Estimated refugees.
Mixed
CAR
1,500
Urban refugees.
RoC
Gabon
10,000
Estimated refugees.
Burundi
Zambia
1,550*
Refugees.
DRC
Zambia
36,326*
Estimated refugees.
Rwanda
Zambia
4,142*
Refugees,
Refugee figures, as of December 1999, provided by UNHCR. * Figures as of August 1999.
Total Refugees
59,518
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.