Uganda + 1 more

Kenyan refugees in Uganda OCHA Situation Report No. 9

The information contained in this report has been gathered by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) from sources including the Government of Uganda, UN agencies, non-governmental  organizations and the Uganda Red Cross Society.





Situation Overview

 1. The mediation effort led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan continues in Nairobi, centred on working out a power-sharing agreement acceptable to both the Government and opposition.

2. On Thursday 21 February, media reports indicated the adjournment of the talks until Friday, to allow for consultations on current negotiations, which are reported to include the creation of the position of Prime Minister, to be held by the opposition.

3. In a report also released on 21 February, the advocacy organization, International Crisis Group (ICG) warned that armed groups could unleash a new wave of violence in Kenya if the mediation efforts do not provide an urgent solution.

4. Since the outbreak of the violence in the wake of the 27 December 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections, more than 1,000 people have been killed and some 600,000 have been displaced, according to the Kenyan Red Cross Society. At least 12,000 of the displaced have crossed into Uganda, according to the Government of Uganda estimate.

5. New arrivals continue to be registered at the Mulanda Transit Centre, with some refugees reporting the limited humanitarian response available to internally displaced persons in Kenya and depletion of host community capacity in Uganda as the reason for their movement. An estimated 30 Kenyans were reportedly awaiting transport to the Mulanda Transit Centre at the Lwakhakha border crossing (Manafwa District).

6. As of 21 February, 1,924 refugees had registered at the Mulanda Transit Centre; approximately 45 per cent of the registered refugees are children. The transit centre is managed by the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR and Tororo District Authorities, in partnership with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) and with the support of other humanitarian agencies.

7. According to the refugees living at Mulanda, the majority of men continue to monitor the situation in their home country by returning temporarily.

8. Meanwhile, authorities at the border note that business seems to be normalizing in the town of Busia on the Kenyan side of the border, with 90 per cent of shops reportedly reopened. Road access has increased with increased traffic flow, while 50 per cent of the population entering Uganda this week has been students reporting back to schools in Uganda, 20 per cent ordinary transit and 30 per cent members of the business community.

Priority Needs

9. The following have been highlighted by partners in the response as being among the priority needs:

-Cooking fuel - fire risk is increased by the use of firewood to cook in the absence of sufficient charcoal stocks;

-Increased health care capacity at the Mulanda Health Centre IV;

-Information, Communications and Education (ICE) materials in Kiswahili, including on HIV/AIDS;

-Supplementary feeding for mothers with young children and people living with HIV/AIDS;

-Classroom facilities, teachers and scholastic materials and furniture for the primary school;

-Cleaning and rehabilitation of sanitation facilities as the former reception centre at St. Jude Primary School in Malaba, Tororo District.

Humanitarian Response

10. The following agencies are participating in the response to the humanitarian needs of the Kenyan refugees in Uganda: United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), Save the Children, World Vision, PLAN, The Salvation Army, The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), Uganda Orphans Rural Development (UORD), Christian Children's Fund, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme.

11. Other organizations that have contributed relief items to the response include: MTN, Stanbic Bank, GOAL Uganda, the students of Kampala International University and the Kenyan High Commission.


Camp Management

12. In order to strengthen camp security, the Tororo District Internal Security Officer (DISO) has recommended that all visitors to the camp should request clearance from the Resident District Commissioner (RDC).

13. Refugee representatives will be included in the management and distributions of NFI and food stocks.

14. A general cleaning of the Transit Site was carried out on 20 February by refugee volunteers, World Vision and the Uganda Red Cross Society.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFIs)

15. Shelter facilities at Mulanda have been expanded from four to five blocks (A-E) to accommodate the increasing number of refugees transferring to the site.

16. The Salvation Army has provided 300 bags of charcoal, up to a one-month ration, for distribution at the Transit Centre, with UNHCR planning an additional top up of 100 bags. By 19 February, 80 per cent of refugees at Mulanda had resorted to the use of firewood for cooking, due to shortages of charcoal supply during the past week. On 19 February, all remaining bags of charcoal were distributed, with each family receiving only one basin due to the limited supply.

19. To date, the Uganda Red Cross has distributed nearly 41,000 non-food items, including mosquito nets, cooking pots, jerrycans, blankets, soap, tarpaulins, cups and plates. An assessment has been conducted to identify refugees at Mulanda that have not yet received NFIs.

Food Security

20. According to the Uganda Red Cross, some 115 bags of maize flour and three bags of beans are all that remain in the Transit Centre's stores. The supply of cooking oil has been exhausted. Additional food supplies are required.

21. A number of organizations including NGOs, private donors and the Government of Uganda have made donations of food for the refugees. Additionally, WFP has pre-positioned food stocks at Mulanda to be distributed by UNHCR when there are gaps in the available supply. WFP also makes weekly monitoring and assessment visits to the Transit Centre.

Health, Nutrition and HIV/AIDS

22. Since the 23 January opening of the Mulanda Transit Centre, 19 per cent of all patients seen at the Mulanda Health Centre IV have been refugees. From 23 January to 14 February, a total 2,387 people, including 643 children under five and 1,744 adults, sought assistance at the HC IV.

23. Meanwhile, the Health Centre's laboratory management reports a stock out of testing kits of more than one month's duration. Health care staff have also not been paid a promised weekly incentive.

24. The NGO PLAN is providing assistance to refugees referred from the Mulanda Health Centre IV to other facilities. All referrals are to St. Anthony Hospital in Tororo except in cases where St. Anthony's does not have the necessary services.

25. The NGO TASO estimates that HIV prevalence among the residents of the Mulanda Transit Centre is 13 per cent, while the prevalence in Tororo District is 5.7 per cent. Stigmatization against HIV positive individuals is prevalent; of 47 identified HIV positive people needing antiretroviral treatment, only nine are currently receiving ARVs.

26. TASO and PLAN are working together to provide support in the area of HIV/AIDS, including voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) and antiretroviral therapy (ART).

27. UNHCR was expected to undertake a nutrition survey at the Transit Centre on 22 February.


28. At present, some 367 children are registered at the primary school and 134 are registered for the early childhood development (ECD) programme. Teachers have requested four additional classrooms be provided and additional staff be recruited in order to comfortably accommodate the children.

29. The NGO Save the Children reports that school attendance has been intermittent, with high rates of absenteeism. Dialogues with refugees have been conducted to encourage regular attendance.

30. UNHCR, with the support of Save the Children, is addressing secondary schooling needs at two local Franciscan schools in Tororo and Mbale.

31. A local NGO, Uganda Orphans Rural Development, is looking into working with Save the Children on early childhood development.


32. Tracing and reunification activities continue. Some 38 separated or unaccompanied children had been registered as of 19 February and attached to foster families. Five unaccompanied children have been reunited with their parents and are staying at the Transit Centre.

33. Orientation and training has been provided to 44 members of Child Protection Committee by Save the Children.

34. Renovations to the Safe Space have been completed, following damages to the enclosure fencing. The football field has also been prepared and is ready for use. Two teams have been formed and are training.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

35. Water quality testing has been conducted to verify that the water trucked into the Transit Centre is safe for human consumption.

36. Twenty Red Cross and refugee volunteers have been trained to carry out hygiene and sanitation work in the Transit Centre. Sanitation committees have been formed in the residential blocks.


37. The NGO Action Aid has announced plans to distribute relief items including food (maize, beans, flour and cooking oil), sanitary kits and mosquito nets to a approximately 3,000 Kenyan refugees in Bukwo and Kapchorwa Districts in the coming week. As part of the distribution, Action Aid will work to ensure that the most vulnerable, including lactating/pregnant women, children and older persons have first priority in the distributions.

38. Action Aid also plans to work with the District Authorities on a media campaign on the refugees' situation.

39. The NGO Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, which conducted a rapid assessment in Bukwo District last week, notes that there has been a 30 per cent increase in the population accessing health care services. This is attributed to the refugee population living within the host community.


40. Clean up operations have not been carried out at St. Jude Primary School in Malaba, Tororo District. The school was used as one of the principle reception centres for Kenyan refugees from 29 December to 22 January; at the time the Mulanda Transit Centre opened, St. Jude's was hosting nearly 2,000 refugees. The inadequate sanitation facilities available were quickly overwhelmed and have not been rehabilitated or replaced since. Some 953 children are enrolled at St. Jude's, of whom 72 per cent (685 children) are girls.


41. The humanitarian community in Uganda has agreed jointly to support the Government's response to the situation of the Kenyan refugees, with inter-agency operational coordination to be led by the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, subsequent to the granting of prima facie status to the Kenyans in Uganda.

42. Weekly coordination meetings are held on Friday at 1800 hours in Tororo District with the participation of humanitarian agencies and District Authorities.

43. OCHA will continue to issue regular Situation Reports. Inputs may be sent to:

For more information, please contact:

Kristen Knutson, Public Information and Donor Liaison Officer, OCHA-Uganda: +256 312 244 888, +256 772 759 996 (mobile),;

Chris Hyslop, Desk Officer, OCHA-New York: +1 917 367 9457,;

Stephanie Bunker, Public Information Officer, OCHA-New York: +1 917 367 5126, +1 917 892 1679 (mobile),;

Elisabeth Byrs, Public Information Officer, OCHA-Geneva: +41 22 917 2653,


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