While efforts continue to finalize a peace deal for northern Uganda, and despite a nine month respite from fighting, relief agencies say much work needs to be done in the region. However, resources to do the job are dwindling.
Savio Carvalho is country director for Oxfam GB. From Kampala, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the humanitarian situation in the north, which he says varies from region to region.
“In some…you have a significant amount of population, which has moved closer to their land. While in other districts, you see very little movement of population. For example, in Kitgum, the numbers and the figures are bleak and very few people have actually moved…so there hasn’t been any large-scale return in the Acholi sub-region. So, there is still a need for an increased level of humanitarian assistance…to the mother camps (for the displaced) where people have not yet moved, but also to find where people have resettled,” he says.
Asked about the number of displaced at the height of the conflict and how many have returned home, Carvalho says, “There are conflicting figures that are available…but right now out of around 1.6 million or 1.7 million people, about 1.3 (million) still remain in camps.”
He says it has affected OXFAM operations because the agency must provide aid to the camps and the new settlements as well. Carvalho adds that money from donors is growing short. “Unfortunately, donor aid has alarmingly decreased and that has created a concern. And the UN figures speak for themselves. They have got roughly about 50 percent of what they actually wanted and the same goes for a lot of civil society groups,” he says.
The World Food Program, for example, has been forced to cut food rations to displaced people in the north.