Over 11 million people displaced in central and east Africa, UN reports

18 May 2009

Armed conflict and natural disasters in Central and East Africa continue to drive an increasing number of persons from their homes, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

Armed conflict and natural disasters in Central and East Africa continue to drive an increasing number of persons from their homes, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

The combined number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in 16 countries in the area exceeds 11 million, up from 10.9 million in December 2008, according to data compiled by OCHA’s regional office.

The report comes amid a year-long, worldwide campaign by the UN’s humanitarian wing to raise global awareness of what it calls a widespread “displacement crisis.”

It also comes after OCHA announced last week that only 27 per cent of the funds needed to support relief efforts in Central and East Africa have been donated.

Statistics compiled in the Displaced Populations Report published by OCHA Regional

Office for Central and East Africa show that at the end of March 2009, 10 countries reported a combined total of over 9.1 million IDPs. They are Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

The DRC, Somalia and Sudan continue to be the countries with the largest IDP populations. Sudan has over 4 million IDPs, while DRC and Somalia have over 1.3 million IDPs each, OCHA said.

Sixteen countries in the region reported a combined total of nearly 1.9 million refugees at the end of March 2009. The refugee hosting countries are Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Djibouti, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Chad, Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania continue to have the largest number of refugees in the region, with each country hosting over 250,000 refugees at the end of March 2009.

OCHA said that among the causes of the displacement were repeated attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on civilians in north-eastern DRC and renewed fighting in the eastern North Kivu province related to the joint DRC-Rwanda military operation in January and February against armed rebel groups.

Also, ongoing hostilities in Somalia have resulted in an influx of refugees to north-eastern Kenya, where the three camps in the Dadaab complex are congested with a population of some 258,000 refugees – or nearly three times their original capacity – as of March 2009.

In addition to conflicts, displacement is also triggered by natural disasters such as floods and droughts, creating large in-country and cross-border population movements, OCHA said.

Lack of access to displaced people due to insecurity and targeting of humanitarian workers is an ongoing challenge to those who provide aid in countries such as CAR, Chad, DRC, Somalia, and the Darfur region of Sudan, the Office added.

Last week OCHA reported that some 1.4 million had been contributed to its special appeal, launched in November of last year, to raise almost $5.3 million to respond to crises in Africa.

The awareness campaign, organized by OCHA with the support of its partners, was launched in December 2008 on the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

 

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UN lacks more than 70 per cent of funds sought to aid Central and East Africa

Only 27 per cent of the funds needed to support relief efforts in Central and East Africa have been donated, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.