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Uganda: operational update January to March 2006

31-03-2006 Operational Update

Addressing the humanitarian needs resulting from the armed conflict in northern areas of the country forms the major part of the ICRC's work in Uganda - an update on ICRC activities from the beginning of January until the end of March 2006.

In northern Uganda, the ICRC is providing humanitarian assistance to more than 700,000 people living in 65 camps for the internally displaced. These camps are spread over three districts -- Pader, Gulu and Kitgum -- which have borne the brunt of the 20-year armed conflict.

An integrated approach has been adopted in order to address the needs of the vulnerable population. The main aims are to increase access to safe water and basic health care, to improve sanitation, and to distribute essential household goods to replace items lost during outbreaks of fire in the camps during the dry season.

 Assistance  

    

In the first quarter of 2006, more than 535,000 people benefited from the ICRC's agricultural programme. Seeds for aubergines, okra, tomatoes, amaranthus, cabbage, cowpeas and rice were distributed along with farming tools. Agronomists held training sessions for local people so that they could improve their knowledge of best agricultural practices.

Around 90,000 people in the districts of Gulu and Kitgum benefited from the distribution of essential household items such as soap, cooking utensils, cups, plates, jerry cans and blankets.

As a result of fires that frequently break out during the dry season between November and March, emergency supplies were delivered to more than 77,000 people. Such assistance included tarpaulins to provide temporary cover after the loss of traditional grass-thatched huts.

 Water and Sanitation  

    

The ICRC continued to support the drilling of boreholes in sixteen camps during the first quarter of the year with the aim of increasing the daily volume of safe water to 8 litres per person.   Up to 45,000 people benefited from this ongoing project during this period. In the densely populated camp of Pabbo in Gulu district, the water point was motorized increasing access to 45,000 people.

To improve hygiene and waste disposal, 450 traditional pit latrines were dug in the camps. In partnership with the communities, there were further campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining hygiene and cleanliness as a guard against disease, especially cholera.

 Health  

    

A major anti-malaria project was initiated with the training of medical personnel in 19 selected IDP camps and the distribution of mosquito nets to more than 3,350 families, including 9,900 children.

The ICRC continued to support eight hospitals in the region with the delivery of drugs and other medical supplies. In addition, 16 health centres across 19 camps received assistance in the form of supplies and technical support.

In some instances, construction and maintenance work was carried out and equipment was donated.

 Detention activities  

    

49 visits were made to 39 places of detention, including 9 military barracks.

In collaboration with the Uganda Prisons Service, a joint survey of 10 prisons was conducted to assess their infrastructure, in particular their water and sanitation systems. At Gulu Government Prison, the water and sewage systems were rehabilitated and connected to the municipal network. 

Occasionally, particular needs that arose from these surveys were met; for example water storage tanks, jerry cans, blankets, gardening tools, seeds and uniforms.

 Family links  

    

In collaboration with the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), the ICRC transmitted 743 Red Cross Messages between family members, with refugees and detainees using the service most.

 Dissemination  

    

More than 2,400 soldiers attended seminars on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) during the first three months of the year.

More than 1,000 police officers attended ICRC training sessions on international humanitarian principles in policing.

 Co-operation  

    

The ICRC continued to provide financial and other support to the Uganda Red Cross Society.