Uganda

International Development written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement about the people living in internally displaced persons camps within Uganda, with particular reference to their need for adequate water, food and security.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development

The UK remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation caused by the conflict in northern Uganda, now in its 18th year. Insecurity prevents normal development activities, resulting in 63 per cent. of households in the north living below the poverty line compared with 38 per cent. nationally. Our immediate concern is the plight of the large number of displaced people across the region. This group of over 1.3 million faces declining levels of food security due to disruption of the planting and harvesting seasons. They also face serious problems of lack of shelter and physical insecurity. A number of local and international organisations are working to address the emerging needs.

We have provided £7.3 million of humanitarian assistance over the last 12 months. This has been channelled through the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the Uganda Red Cross Society. We are currently allocating a further £1.1 million. Linked to this we are financing UNICEF personnel working on the protection of women and children. We have also provided Save the Children Fund with a grant to improve conditions for the increasing number of unaccompanied children who are sleeping in town centres at night to avoid abduction by the LRA. We are working hard, in partnership with others, to ensure humanitarian assistance reaches all those in need despite some access difficulties across the region.

The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and I raised the conflict and its humanitarian impact in our discussions with President Museveni during his recent UK visit. We, along with our partners in Uganda and the international community, will continue to encourage the Government of Uganda to bring about a sustainable resolution to the conflict.

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