Sudan + 1 more

ACT Appeal Uganda: Emergency Relief - AFUG-31

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Appeal Target: US$ 219,393
Geneva, 30 January 2003

Dear Colleagues,

For 16 years, the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) has continued to terrorize the people of Northern Uganda in an area commonly known as Acholi land. The LRA has been notorious in abducting children whom they have turned into child soldiers and young girls as sex slaves. They have carried out wanton destruction of property, killed many hundreds of people and have been responsible for massive displacements of people estimated at 75% of the population in Gulu district (350,000) and 25% in Kitgum and Pader districts (150,000). Most of the displaced people have been living in camps since the rebellion started in 1986. In mid 2002, the Sudanese government co-operated with the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) to rout out the LRA from their bases inside Southern Sudan and help to liberate the hundreds of children captured by the LRA and used as child soldiers against their own people. The operation code named, Operation Iron Fist (OIF) failed to achieve its objectives and LRA re-entered Northern Uganda from their bases in Sudan and went on a rampage of destruction. Over 3,000 houses were burnt in 13 IDP camps causing a further displacement of over 40,000 people from the district of Gulu alone. In Kitgum and Pader districts a Sudanese refugee camp was attacked with over 152 people reported killed and scattering over 10,000 refugees all over the place. The displaced have been described as living in deplorable and inhuman conditions deprived of the most basic humanitarian needs.

While the entire Acholi land had been affected by this emergency situation, the Church of Uganda PDR working through the dioceses of Northern Uganda and Kitgum is targeting its response to only 41,711 people in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts. The proposed response will include, non-food items (kitchen sets, blankets, and water jerry cans), seeds and tools, and relief food.

Project Completion Date: 30 April 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested


ACT Monitoring
CoU
Appeal Total US$
Total Appeal Target(s)
5,000
214,393
219,393
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd
0
0
0
Balance Requested from ACT Network
5,000
214,393
219,393

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
Director
WCC/Cluster on Relations
John Nduna
Acting Director
ACT
Robert Granke
Director
LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

  • Church of Uganda - Planning, Development and Rehabilitation Department (PDR).

II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION 2003

The Programme is being implemented by Northern Uganda and Kitgum Dioceses of the Church of Uganda but closely supervised and monitored by the Church of Uganda Provincial Planning, Development and Rehabilitation Department (PDR). Northern Uganda and Kitgum Dioceses are part of the 29 Dioceses, which make up the Province of the Church of Uganda. They occupy the administrative districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader bordering Sudan.

Each of these two Dioceses have Diocesan Planning and Development Officers who link up with the Provincial Planning, Development and Rehabilitation Department (PDR) to implement Emergency Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Programmes in Uganda.

III. DESCRIPTION of the EMERGENCY SITUATION

The Dioceses of Northern Uganda and Kitgum cover what is commonly known as the Acholi land. The Acholi have been living under the terror of a rebellion by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) since 1986 (a total of 16 years). This rebellion has not only persisted for too long but has led to wanton destruction of property, loss of lives, abduction of children who have been forcefully conscripted into the LRA's army as child soldiers. Many of these Child Soldiers have died at the hands of both Government soldiers, the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) and LRA itself. The rebellion has also led to displacement of 75% of the people in Gulu district (350,000) and 25% in Kitgum and Pader districts (150,000). These people have been living in what is popularly known as protected camps under squalid conditions for over 16 years.

The proposal was not made earlier because the initial UPDF offensive against LRA was in Sudan. However, the LRA shifted the battle field to Uganda in June and it was assumed that the UPDF would repel them quickly (as they have often done over the 16 years of insurgency) before the rebels could cause too much havoc to the local populace. This proved not to be the case and they have since caused a lot of suffering and displacement of people. The Government daily newspaper "The New Vision" of 16 September 2002 puts the figure of displaced at 500,000 in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader alone. Massive displacement of people continues to date.

Emergency Currently Applied for

The emergency currently applied for relates to the devastating effects/impact of the Lord's Resistance Army on the protected camps both in Northern Uganda and Kitgum Dioceses as a result of the offensive by the UPDF against the LRA with Sudanese Government Support under the codename "Operation Iron Fist (OIF). This operation was launched about 4 months ago when the Sudanese Government allowed the Ugandan Government to operate freely inside Sudanese territory to uproot LRA from bases inside Sudan and also to cut off any support (military, financial, food and otherwise) by the LRA foreign backers.

The Operation Iron Fist (OIF) first gave the people of Acholi hope, because it was meant to rescue the children held in captivity by the LRA and subsequently leave the LRA without a fighting force. This would in turn liberate the Acholi from the atrocities committed by the LRA. This hope was suddenly erased by the re-entry of the LRA into Uganda on 6 June 2002 from Sudan. The rebels have so far burnt down 3,103 houses in 13 camps and again displaced over 40,000 persons from the District of Gulu alone as indicated below:


The number of houses/huts burnt down in 13 camps in Gulu district alone
Serial No.
Camps
Houses/Huts Burnt
1.
Omaro Awoli
500
2.
Porongo
102
3.
Alero
1,660
4.
Lukodi
30
5.
Coo-pe
10
6.
Cwero
50
7.
Okung-gedi
280
8.
Guru-guru
170
9.
Gira Gira
120
10.
Paicho
10
11.
Pagak/Wiyanono
80
12.
Kati Kaati
46
13.
Mutema
45
Total
3,103
Source: Gulu District Administration


The situation in Kitgum and Pader districts is the worst however, there are no statistics on the displaced. A whole Sudanese Refugee Camp in Acol - Pii was attacked and as many as 152 people were massacred and the remnants of over 10,000 refugees are trying to be relocated to safer areas of Uganda (Kiryandongo in Masindi District). This figure excludes the nationals of Uganda killed and internally displaced in these two districts. The wanton killings, displacements, burning of houses is continuing unabated even now as this appeal is being written.

As regards the current situation, fighting has spread beyond Acholiland. The neighbouring districts of Apac, Adjumani, Kotido and Lira are partially affected. Almost all roads in Acholiland are closed because of serious ambushes. Abduction of children has forced many parents to run to urban centres. The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been re-displaced.

The LRA rebels have split into a number of small groups. They have been hitting the civilians in 2 - 4 places in Kitgum, Pader, Gulu, Kotido, Apac and Lira. They attack buses en route to-and-fro West Nile region (5 times), Gulu-Kitgum buses and other types of vehicles in these areas. During the attack, the vehicles are burnt, people are killed and property looted.

In Gulu town and peri-urban areas, the rebels attack civilians in their homes almost every two to three days in a week. During the attack a number are abducted while others are killed and property is either looted or destroyed. This is their style of attack throughout the northern region. People therefore, cannot sleep in their houses.

The majority of people sleep under verandahs, abandoned or dilapidated buildings, diocesan headquarters while others just stay in open places within urban centres in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and starting from this week, also in Lira town. The Acholis living in Nwoya and Purongo areas have fled across the River Nile to Pakwach in Nebbi district for safety.

According to the Uganda Government paper. "New Vision" of 17 January 2003 the Lord Resistance Army rebels have continued to raid villages in the northern area. About 500,000 people have been displaced or left homeless by the insurgency. Reports from the area indicate that fear and tension has gripped the residents due to the raids by the rebels. In Gulu alone, 2/3 of the entire population is displaced and 45,000 have had their shelters completely destroyed. Elsewhere it is difficult to get accurate statistics because of the fluidity of the situation and as it is always acknowledged in a war situation that the truth is the first thing to die. What one can confidently say is that there is a human catastrophe in the northern part of Uganda where semblance of normal human life doesn't exist.

Many organizations have responded to this human catastrophe but the need is so great that no single agency or multiple agencies can meet the needs. Worse still the need is ever increasing because of the escalation in the conflict. The World Food Programme has been supplying food but for the last two weeks they have stopped due to the ambushes, burning down and killing of their staff during the Emergency Relief operations in the northern part of Uganda (the area of conflict). Samaritan Purse, ACCORD, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children (Denmark), Local churches, AVSI and many individuals within the country have donated a number of non- food items like blankets, saucepans, basins, plates, etc. to the displaced. Their contribution however is still inadequate and hence the need to bring on board many other agencies.

Location of Emergency

Currently the entire Districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader are affected by the Operation Iron Fist (OIF). There are massive displacements of people both in rural areas, protected camps and even Urban centres like Gulu and Kitgum. It is estimated that about 40,000 people in Gulu District (Northern Uganda Diocese) and another 30,000 people in Pader and Kitgum Districts (Kitgum Diocese) have been newly displaced or affected by this wave of insurgency.

Date of the Emergency

The displacement began after 6 June 2002 but intensified in the months of July and August and is continuing to-date unabated.

Extent of Damage Caused by the Operation Iron Fist and LRA's Insurgency

People

  • The death toll in Gulu District is low but the injured are many especially women and children. It is estimated that up to 200 people could have perished in Gulu District alone and the injured anything up to 2,000 people there is no mechanism to collect statistical data on the battle field.

  • The number of the Dead in Kitgum and Pader districts seem to be higher than Gulu because this was used as the rebels entry point.

  • The dead are estimated at 350 including the Sudanese Refugees. The injured are crudely estimated at over 3,000 people by people arriving in neighbouring Lira town of Lango Diocese.

  • The total number of people newly affected by the Emergency in Gulu alone is 41,716 or 10,000 households according to the chief Administrative Officer, Gulu District Local Government. On the other hand Kitgum and Pader districts have an estimate at 50,000 people or approximately 12,000 households.

Houses
  • The homes destroyed are mainly mud brick huts built by the displaced people in camps.

  • In Gulu district alone about 3,103 huts have been burnt down. In Kitgum and Pader districts the number is estimated at 4,000.

Crops and Livestock

All the livestock and crops ready for harvesting were abandoned in the flight for safety. The people now face acute starvation because they have no access to the fields for crops and homes for livestock products.

Four things have been happening to the abandoned crops:-

a) Rebels have been harvesting beans, cassava, maize and groundnuts whenever they come across them.

b) Some crops were not weeded and hence they have yielded nothing or not much.

c) Some people have risked their lives to return to harvest what they can as the World Food programme supplies are insufficient and distribution has ceased since the ambushing.

d) In some areas the crops are just rotting in the fields.

Water and Sanitation

The displaced have a serious shortage of clean and safe drinking water and poor sanitation as they are always on the move or displaced in places where their stay is not guaranteed.

Diseases

Malaria, water borne and airborne diseases are on the rampage among the Displaced. There are no medicines and related medical facilitates and assistance to the displaced.

Poverty

The poverty levels have greatly increased. This is evident by the fact that the displaced cannot afford to purchase anything in their new areas of refuge and where commodities are readily available on sale.

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