Uganda + 1 more

Humanitarian Update - Uganda, Volume V, Issue 2

Situation Report
Originally published
February 2003
Karamoja drought tightens its grip

In response to the worsening drought situation in Karamoja, WFP will start general food distributions to the most drought-affected population in the region. The WFP Moroto field office confirmed that the first batch of 1000 tonnes is already in Karamoja and will be distributed to an estimated 35,000 households -- Moroto has 4491 households, Nakapiripirit has 10,920 and Kotido has 20,555. The estimated average members per household are six. The most affected households were identified from a WFP Emergency Food Needs Assessment (EFNA) done in October 2002 and from consultations with the District Disaster management Committee (DDMC). It should be noted though, that the intensive extended dry season has affected more people than previously identified by the EFNA. WFP and the DDMC are working on updating figures that will then be catered for in the next distributions. However, due to resource constraints WFP is currently facing, only the most vulnerable will be targeted. WFP estimates that 10,000 tonnes will be required to cater for the drought affected from March to June 2003.

The most drought-affected Sub-counties in each of the districts in Karamoja are as follows:

Moroto -- Lopei, Nadunget, Katikekile, Ngoleriet, Lotomi, and Lokopo.

Nakapiripirit -- Lorengedwat, Nabilatuk, Karita, Loroo, Kakomongol, Namalu (50 families whose huts were gutted by fire). The moderately affected are Moruita, Amudat and Lolachat.

Kotido -- Rengen, Kapile, Kalapata, Kabong (rural), Sidok, Loyoro and Nyakwae (these sub-counties are extremely affected).

(A copy of the detailed October 2002 EFNA report may be obtained from Ernest Mutanga on

Feeding of the drought-affected will supplement WFP's ongoing school-feeding programme and food relief to hospitals and health centres in the region, which targets 65,000 school-going kids annually. In February alone, WFP distributed 1300 tonnes of food to hospitals and health centres and under the school-feeding programme. The agency is implementing a programme for feeding of under-fives with the participation of local communities. Communities are being encouraged to set up cooking/feeding centres where WFP will distribute the food.(maize meal for porridge). This initiative aims at separating feeding of the under-fives from the school-feeding programme.

Karamoja is a drought-prone, semi-arid region that suffers from frequent food shortages, and is also affected by insecurity, largely due to cattle rustling activities by the mainly pastoralist population. Government attempts to eliminate the gun have failed so far and it is considered s the biggest cause of insecurity. Through the reporting period, there have media reports of hundreds of people dying from hunger in Karamoja; however, no humanitarian organization or agency could verify these. Much as the situation is extremely serious, the population has coping mechanisms that include selling of cattle to buy food, selling labour for food, etc. Food and other humanitarian interventions are meant to compliment the population's efforts - which are nearly exhausted - in surviving through the hunger gap.

Northern Uganda dire situation unchanged

The northern Uganda region remained tense and fluid through the reporting period, mainly due to continued LRA activities and sightings.

OCHA Kampala initiated and led a joint assessment mission to Kitgum comprising ActionAid, CARITAS/CRS and Uganda Red Cross Society to Kitgum from 6-10 February, to evaluate the current security and humanitarian situation of the IDPs, and to verify the exact number of camps outside the seven recognized by WFP. Though the mission only covered the camps in Palabek, it is clear that the conditions in all the camps are very similar. The most worrying sectors are water and sanitation, health and education. Additionally, the increasing food insecurity could trigger nutritional deficiencies that will exacerbate the already poor health of displaced persons, particularly children under five. (A full assessment report may be obtained via email or a hard copy from Erasmus Ibom or Gerald Owachi on or

A WFP/ministry of health nutrition survey in Anaka and Pabbo IDP camps in Gulu confirms the absolutely desperate nutritional status of children under five years. In Anaka IDP camp, over 31 percent of the children under 5 years were documented to be suffering from acute malnutrition, and in Pabbo camp, the largest of all IDP settlements with a population of over 45,000 people, over 18 percent of all children under 5 years were found to be suffering from acute malnutrition (defined as moderate or severe malnutrition, or edema (swelling of the body due to malnutrition).

This is an extremely serious level of childhood malnutrition. Under WFP and UNICEF international standards, any situation where over 15 percent of children under five are acutely malnourished, blanket supplementary feeding should be immediately commenced to address the crisis and to prevent ever increasing numbers of children from becoming seriously malnourished. WFP has stated that it will be working with the Ministry of Health, district authorities and NGOs to establish supplementary feeding in all IDP settlements as rapidly as possible. (The complete survey report may be obtained from WFP's Programme Coordinator for Northern Uganda, Jakob Mikkelsen on Jakob Mikkelsen/UGA/FIELD/WFP@WFP).

Another assessment into Pader was undertaken by WFP, UNICEF, OCHA, WFP, CRS, Pader NGO Forum) and the GoU (OPM). The WFP-led mission aimed at ascertaining the correct IDP population, their situation and mechanisms that could be put in place for an effective food distribution system. As in Kitgum, areas of concern were in the health, water and sanitation, education and child protection sectors. In Pader, water is a priority need followed by food. (A full report is available with WFP's Programme Coordinator for Northern Uganda, Jakob Mikkelsen on Jakob Mikkelsen/UGA/FIELD/WFP@WFP).

Reports from Gulu state that due to lack of military escort during the week 17-21st February, WFP was unable to distribute food to camps in Gulu district. This points to the inadequate security available for escort to the humanitarian organizations and agencies in northern Uganda.

Fires and strong winds are another menace the displaced in Gulu have had to contend with during this dry season. The LC III chairperson, Koch Goma Sub-county reported that on 16th February, a very strong wind caused a lot of destruction to Koch Goma Primary School, damaged roofs of a large number huts and parts of the Health Center.

On 17th February, confirmed reports from the LC3 in Pabbo Sub-county stated that a fire broke out again in Pabbo IDP camp, zone C at 15 -- 15.30 hours. The cause of the fire is unknown so far. OCHA initiated a rapid assessment of the camp and ascertained that 540 huts are affected and 2,700 individuals in the camp made homeless. 310 units were completely burnt down and 230 de-roofed in a bid to prevent their total destruction. Congestions in the camps is the biggest fuel of the fires This incident comes after a similar fire on February 4 burnt down 1,939 huts, affecting 9,695 individuals. This fire brings the total of huts razed to the ground this year to 2,249 and affected population at 11,245 individuals as of February 18.

UNICEF and several Gulu based NGOs have committed to provide relief materials to the camp. This includes preliminary roofing materials like plastic sheeting and tarpaulins, blankets, jerrycans, sanitation kits, utensils, basins, soap and clothes. CARE has shown interest in providing more permanent roofing material under their Shelter Programme. While ACF will play a leading role in water and sanitation issues. OCHA is to follow this up in close collaboration with the DDMC Gulu.

In the midst of this humanitarian organizations have various interventions. Action Against Hunger (ACF) has achieved their objectives completed their water/sanitation and Health/Educations objectives inside Gulu Municipality. They are now geographically surveying the east/south part of the District over the same issues. And under their Gulu Emergency Program, Care rehabilitated 16 boreholes in the district between 12th and 20th February 2003. The boreholes were repaired in Police Primary School (PS); Lalia PS; Gulu Town PS; Pabbo Mission School; Pabbo Sub-county Headquarters; Agole PS; Anwang village; Layibi Central; Koro Kal Sub-county headquarters; Pabbo IDP camp 'D'; Pabbo IDP camp 'B'; Awee IDP camp; Bobi Tradinf Centre; Bobi Health Centre; Bobi sub-county headquarters and Bobi PS.

Under FAO's ongoing project - Improvement of food security for vulnerable households in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts -- households in northern Uganda are benefiting from agricultural inputs. The project is aimed at supplying agricultural inputs (Soybeans 32 MT, finger millet 5.4 MT, maize 13.5 MT, 2,700 hoes, 2,700 pangas and 2160 bags of cassava cuttings) to 2,700 beneficiaries in the districts of Gulu (900 households), Kitgum (900) and Pader (900). In addition to the above inputs, beneficiaries in Pader district will get 144 bulls and 72 ox-ploughs.

All the inputs for the project were delivered to the districts by July 2002 with the exception of bulls that could not be transported from Kumi to Pader, until November/December 2002 because of insecurity. Soybeans, finger millet, maize, hoes, pangas and cassava cuttings have already been distributed to beneficiaries.

It has, however, not been possible for World Vision (the implementing partner of FAO in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts) to distribute bulls, ox-ploughs and cassava cuttings to beneficiaries in Pader district because of the presence and activities of LRA rebels.

In collaboration with Pader district authorities and security personnel, FAO and World Vision are exploring ways of distributing the remaining inputs when the security situation warrants.

Brief on UNRF II reintegration process

IOM is supporting the Amnesty Commission in the screening, documentation and registration exercise of all UNRF II ex-combatants , and upon request by Government of Uganda (GoU) is also repatriating the UNRF II stranded in Khartoum and Juba. Out of the 45 identified so far, 31 were repatriated to Uganda on 14th February 2003 and were handed over to the Amnesty Commission District Resettlement Team in Arua for reinsertion and rehabilitation support. The remaining 14 are scheduled for repatriation on the 28th of February. Concurrent rehabilitation and resettlement assistance to the former UNRF II rebels is almost finalized, with PRAFOD and TPO assisting the Amnesty Commission in this exercise.

WFP has been distributing food to the UNRF II reporters since their original move to Bidi Bidi camp, and has been requested by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to continue this assistance until all UNRF II former combatants are resettled. WFP was scheduled to cease food assistance to the ex- combatant on 31st January 2003, but there have been delays in the resettlement process and no firm date for completion of the exercise is available. If the food assistance ended before completion of the eexercise, it could potentially destabilize the peace process. The Amnesty Commission reports that it had resettled 2200 former UNRF II combatants as of 26th February 2003, while an estimated 300 remained at Bidi Bidi camp, awaiting certificates and resettlement packages from the Amnesty Commission.

The Transcultural Psycho-social Organisation (TPO) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Amnesty Commission to provide psychosocial support and support reintegration of the UNRF II ex-combatants. So far TPO has trained 25 of these ex-combatants as care givers and is also running community sensitization workshops to prepare the communities to receive the ex-combatants. Joint planning workshops are also being held with the sub-county officials on how best to reintegrate these reporters back into the communities.

While the Amnesty Commission has funding for rehabilitation and reinsertion, the resources for reintegration and support will be accessed through the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF), that became effective 4th February 2003, and which is to be managed through the Office of the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the IOM office in Nairobi has finalized a programme to screen, document and register rebels who wish to apply for amnesty and return home to Uganda. IOM is currently working with the Kenyan and Ugandan authorities and with the Ugandan Amnesty Commission to allow former rebels and their dependants to benefit from the Ugandan Amnesty Act, signed in January 2000.

The registration started 20th January and was finalized 7th February 2003. Over 900 individuals turned up for registration, and following the screening exercise which was supervised by the Amnesty Commission Chairman, 230 principal reporters with 126 dependants have been selected for repatriation to Uganda, where they will be handed over to the Amnesty Commission and will be eligible to receive rehabilitation, reinsertion and reintegration support provided by IOM, and World Vision, Gusco and Kicwa. The repatriation exercise is scheduled to begin in March 2003.

All the above IOM activities are components of a US-EU funded programme to allow for the return and reintegration of an initial group of 500 rebels from Kenya and the Sudan.

Short Notes

NRC in Gulu

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) - has initiated their Information Counseling and Legal Assistance (ICLA) Project to Internally Displaced People (IDPs). The Project focuses on the right of the displaced population in Northern Uganda to return to their areas of origin. For facilitation on return, the ICLA provides professional legal assistance to secure basic civil rights and to address possible obstacles and discrimination prior to or during the return and reintegration process. It also addresses issues relating to preparation for return, security facts and considerations, economic prerequisites and considerations such as empowerment opportunities and vulnerable groups such as female-headed households and children separated from their parents. Implementing partners for the project will be Human Rights Focus (HURIFO) and Legal Aid Project (LAP).

Refugee issues

The security situation in the Nakivale and Oruchinga refugee settlements covered by UNHCR's Field Office Mbarara (FOM) remained calm during the reporting period. Minor incidents, however, occurred, primarily resulting from the conflict over land. In one of these incidences, refugees were upset with one national who encroached over a substantially large tract of land

UNHCR base office in Kampala was informed by the UNHCR office in the DRC of the 'possibility of an influx from Beni, eastern DRC'. FOM therefore continued to closely monitor the situation along the south-western common borders of Uganda and the DRC. BO Kampala was. FOM liased with the police officials in Fort Portal and Bundibugyo districts, on the issue. Close monitoring of the situation on the ground continues.

The situation in the two settlements covered by Field Office Hoima (FOH), that is, Kyangwali in Hoima District and Kiryandongo in Masindi District remained calm during the reporting period.

In January DED handed over the Community Services Sector to the Arua District. This is in line with process of integration of services as set-forth under the Self-Reliance Strategy (SRS). The objective of the meeting was to undertake planning process for the implementation of activities. Furthermore in the same month, Government extended a grant of over 16 million Uganda Shillings to the Imvepi, Yinga, Siripi, Ocea, Olujobo and Odobu health centers, for the purposes of meeting the drug needs.

IDP Policy

At a recent meeting between OCHA and the office of the Second Deputy Prime Minister (OPM) and ministry for Disaster Preparedness and Refuges firm dates were agreed and a new timeline written for the process leading to the passing by the Cabinet of a National Policy on Internal Displacement. Among those agreed were the dates for the National Stakeholders and International IDP Awareness Conference to be held on March 20 and April 30 respectively. It was also agreed that the office of the Humanitarian coordinator would join the OPM in rasing Uganda shillings 35,644,277 for the conferences mentioned above. Letters requesting for the funds will be sent to the USAID and the European Commission missions in Uganda.

Minors on Treason

The hearings of the two minors on treason charges were at the Gulu High Court on 20th February. The 2 boys accused are to be kept in custody of caretakers up to 6th March and 20th Match respectively. OCHA will bring up this issue to relevant human rights agencies and the Amnesty Commission.

Uganda gets more time to hunt LRA in Sudan

The Sudanese and Ugandan governments have extended the duration of the validity of a military protocol they signed in March last year. The extension - signed 21st February and running till 31st May 2003 - allows the Ugandan army to continue pursuing the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in southern Sudan under the "operation iron fist" exercise.

According to media and diplomatic sources, Sudan agreed to the extension on condition that Uganda ends its support for the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), a rebel group fighting the Khartoum government in southern Sudan.

FAO reviews agriculture in Katakwi

FAO, together with Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and Officer of the Prime Minister (OPM) undertook a mission to Katakwi district from 19th to 23rd February 2003 to initiate an assessment on the impact of its two emergency projects on beneficiaries. Agricultural Field Officers from COU-TEDDO accompanied the team to selected target sub-counties, namely Magoro, Kapelebyong and Usuk. The major focus of the assessment was on the agricultural activities and inevitably, the security situation in the district.

(The assessment report may be obtained from Jimmy Owani at FAO on

Cholera Update

(As of week ending 9th February)

The districts that had reported cholera cases in the week ending 9th February are Hoima with 11 cases; Kasese with 13 cases and Kampala with 4. There is a noted decrease in the number of districts reporting cholera cases. The districts of Arua, Masindi, Mayuge, Bundibugyo and Nebbi, which had cholera cases in January, reported none during this week. The cumulative cases since the year began are 297 cases with 10 deaths. Ministry of Health (MoH) reports that most of these deaths have occurred due to poor care seeking behavior of the population. The risk factors for propagation of the infection in these districts are: poor personal and home hygiene, cross border/uncontrolled movements, poor sanitation, lack of safe water and bad eating habits. The affected districts and others at risk have received logistical and technical support from MoH. In addition, they have been encouraged to strengthen preventive/control measures including health education, sanitation improvement and safe water supply.

Ministry of Health continues undertaking several control measures, including regular district taskforce meetings; social mobilization; follow-up of contacts-contact tracing; ban on sale of suspicious drinks and foods; etc. There are a number of districts that continue to report sporadic cases of cholera; this therefore calls for all the relevant sectors -- water and sanitation department, education, enforcement, local government, and so on -- to work closely with the health sector to ensure total elimination of the infection in the affected districts and in the country in general.

Meningitis epidemic in Nebbi under control

The reported epidemic of meningo-coccal meningitis, which broke out late 2002 in Okoro and Padyere sub-counties, Nebbi district, is currently under control. The sick are receiving appropriate treatment and the population at risk has been vaccinated. Ministry of Health (MoH), together with partners including MSF-Swiss and COOPI, has strengthened mechanism for prevention and control of the epidemic in Nebbi and the country in general. As of 23rd February, Nebbi had reported 290 cases with 35 deaths since the epidemic broke out. However the medical teams on the ground continue with social mobilisation on preventive measures, surveillance, monitoring and reporting of all suspected cases, alerting neighbouring districts to strengthen their surveillance and proper management of the sick.

Affected Populations1

Beneficiary Type
Adjumani Refugees (Su)
Apac Abducted children
Arua Refugees
- Imvepi (Su)
- Rhino Camp (Su,DRC,Br)


Bundibugyo IDPs
Abducted children
Gulu IDPs
Abducted children
Hoima Refugees (DRC, Su, Ky,Br)
- Kyangwali


- Kyaka II (DRC)
Abducted children


Kasese Abducted children
Katakwi IDPs
Kitgum IDPs - Kitgum
Abducted children
Kotido Drought Affected
Lira Abducted children
Mbarara Refugees
- Oruchinga (Rw )
- Nakivale (Rw,DRC,other)


Masindi Refugees
- Kiryandongo (Su)


Moroto Drought Affected
Moyo Refugees (Su)
- Palorinya
Urban areas Refugees (mix)
Abducted children
Drought Affected

1 Affected population figures are of variable accuracy due to rapidly changing situation as well as the varying quality of information sources. Inclusion in this list does not necessarily indicate the population is receiving humanitarian assistance.. Note too that IDP camp populations reflect the population assisted by WFP (does not include unassisted population figures). Abbrev. are Sudanese (Su), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, (Rw), Burundi (Br), Kenyan (Ky).

Note. The population figures are as of end of January 2003. Please note that the IDP figures are WFP working figures. Those figures for Gulu, Kitgum and Pader do not reflect the displaced people or nightstayers in the towns. Due to the fluid insecurity, there is constant movement of people and the above are working figures and may thus fluctuate from month to month because no comprehensive registration of current displaceme

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