Uganda

URCS supports returnees in Northern Uganda

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Following the expansion of Kinyara Sugar Works late last year, the management of the Sugar Corporation instructed squatters off its premises. The squatters who included internally displaced people were forced to return to their original homes in Gulu, Amuru, Oyam, Apac, Kitgum, Pader and Lira but with hardly anything to start a new life.

As result of this, Uganda Red Cross Society, Masindi Branch supported returnees with non food items. Each returnee was given three blankets, two cooking pots, one aluminum basin, one bucket, five plates, one jerrican, under-wears and sanitary pads, four bars of soap, one tarpaulin and five cups.

Uganda Red Cross Society also helped the returnees to relocate their villages and to gain contact with their relatives. According to the assessment report for the returnees that was compiled by URCS and handed to the Office of the Prime Minister, most IDPs from Gulu district hailed from Bungatira Sub-County, Aswa County and Atiabar Parish.

Meanwhile as the IDPs return home following the government plan to phase out camps, a number of issues have to be addressed to enable them lead a descent life and avoid loss of lives. The emergencies that need urgent action include food shortage to avoid outbreak of famine. Uganda Red Cross Society has tried to improve the food security situation especially in Northern and Eastern Uganda by distributing seeds to the most vulnerable communities. However, there is need for continued support to these communities to avoid reoccurrence of famine that affected 52 districts in the country last year.

Other emergencies that need urgent attention are fire outbreaks and hygiene and sanitation to avoid disease outbreaks. There is also need to increase safe water access and URCS has already embarked on this through construction of boreholes and rehabilitation of water sources.