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Uganda: Aid for 14,000 displaced

08-10-1997 News Release 97/40

The ICRC has just finished distributing blankets, plastic sheeting and soap to over 14,000 internally displaced people in Nyahuka, south-western Uganda. The town's original population of 3,000 increased six-fold when thousands of people sought refuge there from the surrounding hills, fleeing the clashes which broke out in the area last June. " Some of the displaced have found shelter in crowded churches and schools, but most of them are living in makeshift huts in the bush around Nyahuka " , said Louis Grasveld, the ICRC field delegate who supervised the distribution. The operation went ahead smoothly thanks to the support of the Uganda Red Cross Society, whose volunteers first registered all the beneficiaries and then helped distribute the supplies.

The distribution is part of a vast operation launched three months ago by the ICRC and the National Red Cross Society to assist some 70,000 internally displaced people in the south-western districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo. To date, in the first two districts about 30,000 people have received relief supplies and monthly food rations, while in Bundibugyo roughly the same number have been given blankets, soap and plastic sheeting.

" The operation will last until December, the start of the harvest season " , said Claudio Baranzini, head of ICRC operations in Uganda. " After that, we will of course continue to monitor the situation in the region, in close cooperation with the local Red Cross, so that we can step in quickly should new humanitarian needs arise. "