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Kenyan refugees in Uganda OCHA Situation Report No. 4





The information contained in this report has been gathered by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) from sources including the Government of Uganda, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the Uganda Red Cross Society.

Situation Overview

1. New arrivals continue to be recorded in reception centres, with a three per cent increase in the total number of refugees located in the two principle reception centres at Malaba and Busia recorded in the 24 hour period from 14 to 15 January.

2. As of 15 January, the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) has registered 5711 Kenyan refugees in four districts of eastern Uganda, namely Tororo (1,771 refugees), Busia (2155 refugees), Manafwa (705 refugees) and Bukwo (195 refugees). An unconfirmed number of refugees are also reported to be in Kapchorwa district. In total, the Government estimated that more than 6,100 Kenyans have sought shelter in Uganda since the outbreak of violence following the disputed national elections held on 27 December 2007.

reception center
Tororo St. Jude P/S - Malaba
Busia Busia Integrated P/S
Manafwa Bumbo P/S
Source: URCS (15 January 2008)

3. Also on 15 January, the Government confirmed that a transit centre for refugees was being established at the former Technical Institute in Mulanda. The refugees' removal to the transit site will be facilitated by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) once necessary renovations have been completed.

4. In a press statement dated 11 January, the Government granted prima facie refugee status to Kenyans seeking shelter in Uganda and announced that they would be assisted in the frontline districts during the immediate emergency period. Following that, refugees remaining in Uganda would be expected to relocate to established refugee settlements.

5. The 2008 school year is scheduled to open in Uganda at the beginning of February. Currently, most refugees are being housed in primary schools in the various locations.

6. The situation in neighbouring Kenya continues to be tense, particularly in the wake of the election yesterday of a member of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which backs the presidential candidacy of Raila Odinga, as Speaker of Parliament.

7. Three days of protest starting on Wednesday 16 January were called by Mr. Odinga, although adverse weather conditions (e.g. heavy rain) seem to have kept prevented mass protests in Nairobi on Wednesday, although protesters who did gather have been dispersed by police with tear gas. There are also reports that police have fired on some civilians in Kibera slum. Additionally, media reports say police have dispersed some 300 people attempting to march into the town centre of Kisumu. Scuffles have also been reported in Mombasa and Eldoret.

Priority Needs

8. The refugees' priority needs continue to be:

- Food: The food situation for both asylum seekers and host communities remains critical.

- Shelter: The carrying capacity of the reception centres at Malaba and Busia has been maximized. First aid tents are now being used as night shelters as new arrivals continue.

- Sanitation: Facilities in the reception centres, especially in Malaba, are degenerating due to over-use.

- Protection: Inadequate power supply, and hence lighting, at Malaba reception centre posed a safety risk for the refugees. Additionally, some young girls in the centre have reportedly begun to engage in commercial sex practices, while boys are reportedly using illegal narcotics.

Humanitarian Response

Food Relief

9. The World Food Programme (WFP) began providing food to the refugees on 15 January, distributing seven metric tonnes (MT) to some 2,000 refugees at the Busia main reception centre, in conjunction with the URCS. This constitutes a one week ration for beneficiaries.

10. On 13 January, the URCS distributed food and non-food items (NFIs) to 79 registered refugee households (220 people) at Bumbo Primary School.

11. According to WFP, further distributions may be needed at other refugee locations in the coming weeks, as remaining districts currently report having only one to two weeks of food stocks on hand.

12. The Mukwano Group of Companies is expected to provide food and non-food supplies to the Tororo URCS branch on 16 January.

Non-Food Relief

13. URCS is continuing its distributions of household NFI kits. To date, 3,312 persons (914 households) have received NFI kits. The kits include cooking pots, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, jerrycans, tarpaulins, blankets, soap, cups and plates.

14. The NGO Save the Children-Uganda (SCiU) has distributed 400 baby blankets, 487 mosquito nets and clothing supplies to refugees at the Malaba and Busia reception centres.

15. The NGO GOAL had supplied some 370 stoves and 200 bags of charcoal, as well as kerosene lamps and torches, to the Busia main reception centre. Stoves and charcoal for some 450 households has been provided to partners working at the Malaba reception centre, but have not yet been distributed due to the likely transfer of refugees to the transit camp.

Water and Sanitation

16. GOAL has also constructed two bathing shelters (20 stances) at Busia and has been cleaning and disinfecting latrines, bathing shelters and sleeping rooms, as well as providing soap and chlorine for disinfection. Drainage around the centre's tap stand and distribution of “water guard” (residual chlorine) and hygiene promotion have been conducted.


17. GOAL has also made drugs and medical equipment available for the establishment of a clinic at Busia, run by FOCREV/URCS health teams.


18. In conjunction with the URCS, SCiU conducted an assessment of child protection issues in the Malaba and Busia reception centres and has identified 32 volunteers to be trained on child protection in emergencies. The training of the first 16 volunteers started on 15 January in Busia, focused on tracing, preventing the separation and identification, psychosocial support and referrals sexual and gender based violence.

Mulanda Transit Site

19. Rehabilitation of the planned transit site at the former Mulanda Technical Institute continues, with repairs to floors, windows and doors, fumigation and increased water capacity required. According to UNHCR, the 5,000 to 6,000 person capacity transit site should be ready next week.

20. At present, the URCS is constructing five temporary pit latrines, and renovating another, as well as building five bathing shelters. The organization is also working with the NGO Save the Children to sensitize the future host community at Mulanda.

21. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is working to increase water supply to the site and plans to truck in water as the first line response, while UNHCR is sending 500 tents for shelter.


22. The humanitarian community in Uganda has agreed jointly to support the Government's response to the situation of the Kenyan refugees, with inter-agency operational coordination to be led by the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, subsequent to the granting of prima facie status to the Kenyans in Uganda.

23. Coordinated meetings continued to be convened by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), including through existing mechanisms such as the District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs). On 15 January, the OPM, represented by the Minister of State for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Mr. Musa Ecweru, convened and chaired the Tororo DDMC.

24. OCHA will continue to issue regular Situation Reports on the situation of the Kenyan refugees in Uganda. Inputs may be sent to Kristen Knutson at

25. The latest ReliefWeb Situation Map on the Kenyan Elections can be found at ReliefWeb: CB13D883B381D63852573D10075535D/$File/rw_CE _ken080115.pdf?OpenElement.

Map: Kenya: Displacement and Humanitarian Response Situation Map (as of 15 Jan 2008)

For more information, please contact:

Kristen Knutson, Public Information and Donor Liaison Officer, OCHA-Uganda: +256 312 244 888, +256 772 759 996 (mobile),;

Chris Hyslop, Desk Officer, OCHA-New York: +1 917 367 9457,;

Stephanie Bunker, Public Information Officer, OCHANew York: +1 917 367 5126,;

Elisabeth Byrs, Public Information Officer, OCHAGeneva: +41 22 917 2653,


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