Increased violence in Uganda forces thousands to flee to safety: WFP

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported today that it has witnessed a surge in the number of displaced people in northern Uganda due to an escalation of violent rebel fighting over the past six weeks.
Fresh attacks around the areas of Kitgum and Gulu have driven more than 100,000 people from their homes and towards urban centres, the agency said. The newly displaced population has poured into existing "ad hoc displaced sites" around the towns, which already host more than 300,000 Ugandans forced from their villages by earlier fighting.

The number of displaced people in the area could be as high as 435,000, but final figures will not be available until the security situation improves and WFP and other agencies carry out proper assessments, the agency said.

WFP has been providing food to the displaced populations in northern Uganda since 1996. Although the recent insecurity has made it difficult for the agency to continue providing relief in the area, it has been preparing convoys over the past few weeks and hopes to begin a large-scale distribution soon.

This recent wave of attacks has not only spurred new people to become displaced, but has had a devastating psychological effect on those who were already displaced and preparing to return home soon, the agency said.