Uprooted continue to return home in northern Uganda, UN reports

17 March 2009
A returnee's hut in Uganda

Northern Ugandans uprooted during two decades of fighting between the Government and a notorious rebel group are continuing to return home, the United Nations humanitarian arm announced today.

The clashes between the Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) drove nearly two million people from their homes, devastating infrastructure and services.

Fewer than one-third of original internally displaced persons (IDPs) are still in camps as of February, marking a 9 per cent decrease since last November, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Since December 2008, nearly 80,000 people have returned to their villages of origin in the Great Lakes region nation, either from camps or transit sites.

As of the end of February, in addition, over 48,000 refugees have fled fighting in the troubled North Kivu province, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), taking refuge across the border in Uganda.

OCHA said that the pace of new arrivals from North Kivu has slowed in the last month. More than 8,000 Congolese refugees have been relocated to two transit centres since August 2008, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has received a $1.2 million grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help those in need.

Meanwhile, the largest-ever food distribution operation in the Karamoja region in Uganda’s north-east kicked off, targeting more than 80 per cent of the population over the next nine months.

Only 1 per cent, or $2.9 million, of the 2009 UN Consolidated Appeal for Uganda has been met as of the end of last month, OCHA reported.


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