Humanitarian aid in favour of the people of Uganda to relieve vulnerable population groups affected by insecurity and climatic hazards

Situation Report
Originally published
Amount of decision: 6 Million euro

Decision reference number: ECHO/UGA/BUD/2004/01000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population:

1.1. - Rationale:

The humanitarian situation in northern, central and eastern Uganda, Acholiland, Teso (1) and Lango deteriorated considerably in 2003, in the words of the Under Secretary of the UN for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, "The conflict in northern Uganda is the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today." (2) An additional 500,000 (3) people became displaced totalling an estimated 1,217,000, and if one takes into consideration the local host population, 2 million people (abducted children, night commuters, displaced people living in IDP camps and refugees) are affected by the humanitarian crisis. Given that at the beginning of 2002 there was talk of resettlement and rehabilitation, the end of 2003 saw a greater awareness by the Ugandan government of the need to accept third party facilitation as a remedy to the conflict and open up to peace talks. The European Parliament in its Resolution on Northern Uganda on 3rd July, 2003, condemning such attacks, requesting emergency support from ECHO, and asking for a solution to the conflict. The crisis has engendered more needs in a wider geographical area than before. The LRA attacks have caused high insecurity outside Acholiland targeting districts further south such as Lira (4), Soroti and Katakwi (5) and worryingly reaching central parts of the country, some taking place under 300km Northeast of the country's capital, Kampala.

The main reason for the humanitarian crisis is the high level of insecurity, which has brought economic activities to a near stand-still, and has forced an almost unmanageable number of people to leave their homes and to live in camps.

The second reason for insecurity causing displacement, though much less important in its scale, is the cattle raiding by Karimojong warriors in North-eastern Uganda, affecting Kotido, Kitgum, Pader and Lira, with the latter 3 districts being affected by the LRA as well and thus compounding the problems of the peoples living in these districts. The consequences of this cattle raiding, ongoing for centuries and by many regarded as a cultural tradition of the Karimojong, has reached intolerable dimensions with the advent of modern firearms in the region. An estimated 260,000 people(6), two thirds of the population of Katakwi district (7) is displaced, and has completely lost their household economy.

Thirdly, Uganda's relative generous open-door policy has encouraged citizens of neighbouring countries to seek protection within its borders. The present refugee population in Uganda is 210,600 (8). They are mainly Rwandan, Congolese and Sudanese, the majority coming from Southern Sudan.


(1) In Teso there is an estimated 330,000 more IDPs than last year due to the displacement which took place from July-October 2003. UNHCR Figures in September 2003 documented at :


(3) "Uganda's displaced population increased by a third (over 300,000) last June, when the LRA made a push into the eastern Teso region, nearly doubling the amount of territory under siege". Panafrican News Agency 20/11/03.

(4) Acholi Religious Leaders have stated, "we need food, shelter, water and health assistance urgently. Lira town in flooded with internally displaced people beyond its capacity", MISNA, 20/11/03.

(5) Christine Aporu, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness on 27/11/03 told a meeting on the Teso-Karamoja conflict in Kampala that the number of IDPs in Katakwi was over 200,000. According to the 2002 population census, Katakwi district has a population of 267,304. "The situation of IDPs in Katakwi is getting out of hand. Almost everybody in Katakwi district is living in camps. "It high time we resolved the conflict between the Iteso and the Karimojong. It is very expensive and difficult to keep people in the camps."

(6) School enrolment figures crosschecked by Concern (Mission report April 2004).

(7) Latest reports: total population of Katakwi district: 307,000. (was 267, 304 - see above footnote which may now be deleted).

(8) UNHCR Figures in September 2003 documented at :