Nairobi — An "urgent and rapid response" to emergency needs in the conflict-affected north would be the main focus of humanitarian efforts in Uganda in 2003, the United Nations said on Tuesday as it launched its US $89 million appeal for the country.
The deterioration in security in the north had resulted in new displacement of IDPs and refugees, an increase in human rights violations, and limited access by humanitarian organisations to the displaced, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in launching the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal (CAP) for 2003.
The focus of this year's appeal had therefore shifted from an emphasis on rehabilitation and recovery in the north to emergency needs, such as food and shelter, safe water and sanitation, and basic health services, the CAP document said.
The most vulnerable groups included approximately 190,000 refugees, and an estimated 660,000 IDPs, war victims, drought-affected people and HIV/AIDS sufferers, it stated.
Aside from the emergency in the north, the Common Humanitarian Action Plan outlined in the appeal document, would focus on some areas previously affected by conflict which were continuing to experience relative calm, OCHA said. In these areas, including southwestern Uganda and most of West Nile region, transition and rehabilitation efforts would be pursued.
The projects requesting funding in this year's appeal were designed to meet six objectives in 2003, including: support to the relief, return and recovery of 550,000 IDPs; support to re-integration and demobilisation of ex-combatants and abducted children; support to a self-reliance strategy for Sudanese and other refugees; and support for peace and reconciliation, and conflict resolution.
Some US $68 million had been requested for this year under the 2002 Consolidated Appeal, of which was US 33 million was requested for non-food items. Those items were 47 percent funded as of the end of September, according to the appeal document.
Analysis of the response to the 2002 CAP showed some "disturbing variations", OCHA said. Certain sectors had suffered from a weak response, and 'recovery and infrastructure' and 'protection and human rights' had received no funding at all under the 2002 CAP. In addition, the International Organisation for Migration, the World Health Organisation, and the United Nations Development Programme had also not received any funding through the CAP.
The 2003 appeal is targeted at interventions in 10 sectors, including: food (US $47 million); agriculture (US $4 million); education (US $2 million); health (US $4 million); water and sanitation (US $1 million); and multi-sectoral programmes (US $16 million).
"The humanitarian crisis in Uganda is far from over," OCHA warned.