Uganda: WFP reports surge in number of displaced people

NAIROBI, 14 February (IRIN) - The World Food Programme (WFP) has reported a large surge in the numbers of people becoming displaced in Uganda due to an escalation in violent rebel attacks in the north of the country since the start of this year.
The UN food agency said in a background paper, made available last week, that fresh attacks in the areas of Kitgum and Gulu had driven some 100,000 people from their homes and towards urban centres.

These newly-displaced persons have reportedly poured into existing "ad hoc displaced sites" around the towns, which already host more than 300,000 Ugandans forced from their villages by previous periods of insecurity.

WFP estimates the number of displaced now living in Gulu at 350,000 and in Kitgum at 85,000. However, the agency cautioned the final figure could not be ascertained until security permitted WFP and other organisations to conduct proper assessments.

Northern Uganda, where the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is active, had been relatively peaceful during most of 1999 and this encouraged many displaced people to begin going back to their homes and farms during the day. They would then return to the IDP camps in the evening for protection.

WFP reported that in addition to the problems around Gulu and Kitgum, Uganda had also witnessed an increase in attacks by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the western Bundibugyo region where WFP is currently feeding 120,000 displaced people.


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