The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today introduced plans to launch a $14 million special appeal to assist seven African countries hit by unforeseen developments, ranging from serious floods to life threatening displacement.
"Hardly a month has gone by in 2003 without another one of these situations emerging, yet I doubt that they have received much, if any, coverage in the international media either due to the isolation of the places in which they've occurred or the high profile of other world events taking place," UNHCR chief Ruud Lubbers said of the need for a new appeal.
Mr. Lubbers introduced the appeal at the 3-day African Union Summit, which opened yesterday in Maputo, Mozambique. It will be formally presented to donors next week in Geneva.
"These events have been the cause of often life threatening suffering and displacement to over 100,000 people in seven countries, the vital protection and assistance to whom will cost my organization some US$14 million in addition to the programmed 2003 budget," Mr. Lubbers said.
Almost half the required sum is for emergency assistance to more than 40,000 refugees who fled to Chad from fighting in the Central African Republic earlier in the year. Two refugee camps in Kenya need repairs after they were badly damaged by recent heavy rains and floods.
In neighbouring Uganda, extra money is needed to cope with 9,000 new refugees who have fled fighting and atrocities in the Bunia region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). UNHCR also intends to relocate 15,000 Sudanese refugees who were forced to flee their camp in northern Uganda by the repeated predations of the Lord's Resistance Army rebels.
In Ethiopia, Rwanda, Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, funds are needed for a variety of situations.