Large-scale humanitarian needs persist in Acholi and Lango regions in northern Uganda where the conflict has now lasted 20 years. 1.4 million civilians are displaced in camps. The indiscriminate brutality of the rebel LRA's (Lord's Resistance Army) and rising levels of uncontrollable banditry are at the root of this. Climatic hazards (low rainfall, floods or volcanic eruptions) could cause additional vulnerabilities. 2005 peace talks paralleled a trend in improved humanitarian access; IDPs (internally displaced persons) had an improved perception of security due to the increased military presence of the Ugandan army around the camps, and moved to 'satellite' camps near their original lands(1). The future, however, does not bode well: the recent issuing of arrest warrants by the ICC (International Criminal Court) indicting 5 top rebel leaders could lead to an immediate increase in hostilities. In September and October 2005 attacks are occurring daily, although not yet at 2002-4 levels. A cyclical conflict, characterised by upturns and downturns of displacement and return scenarios, it can be low-intensity conflict one day and rapidly become a high-intensity, the next. Improvements in access witnessed by humanitarian organisations in 2005 could be quickly reversed.
Year-on-year, Uganda has improved in DG ECHO's Global Needs Assessment (GNA) ranking: for 2005/6 it ranks 17th out of 139 countries, classifying it in the medium needs category (2004: 12th and in the high needs category). Since 2003, European Commission Humanitarian Aid has channelled over EUR 40 Mio into Uganda. DG ECHO's priority is to address the core emergency humanitarian needs. The principal objective will be to assist vulnerable population groups affected by insecurity and climatic hazards. Water and sanitation, health and nutrition, non-food items, shelter, food security, camp planning, protection, coordination, reaching 1.4 million beneficiaries, are the main sectors.
This approach in Uganda is consistent with DG ECHO's 2006 strategy (Needs based, LRRD, "forgotten crisis", mainstreaming of Children and HIV/AIDS).
DG ECHO's strategy for 2006 includes two specific objectives:
- To relieve the suffering of IDPs, host communities and refugees in Uganda via improved water and sanitation, health and nutrition, livelihoods and food security, protection, camp planning, non-food items, and via the enhanced coordination of humanitarian interventions;
- To maintain a technical capacity in the field and to assess needs, appraise project proposals co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of operations. The envelope proposed for the DG ECHO Uganda Global Plan for 2006 is EUR 15 Million.(2)
The duration of the Decision should be of 18 months, starting from 1st January 2006.
(1) Some keep two or more huts in separate camps, so that they have the flexibility to return to the original one should insecurity worsen.
(2) This represents a decrease from the total disbursed for 2005 (20 MEUR) mainly due to the improved access scenario, greater possibility for LRRD and the phase out from Teso region.