In 2006, after twenty years of fighting, a peace process has been initiated between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and the government. During their strife, Northern Uganda has known massive displacement of population. At the end of 2007, internally displaced persons (IDPs) were estimated to 1.3 million, mainly living in camps managed by the government and humanitarian actors.
After the signature of the cease fire, a movement of return has been initiated in some regions leading to the opening of the Première Urgence mission. The aim was to provide assistance to the IDPs and to support their return.
Lira has been the first district targeted by PU’s programmes. Most of the returns in this area have occurred between 2006 and mid 2007. In order to support this movement, 230 km of roads have been rehabilitated in order to ease the access to villages of origin. Food assistance was provided through the “food for work” mechanism. More than 85.000 persons have benefited from these projects, directly or indirectly, i.e. 28% of the displaced population in Lira district.
In 2007, Première Urgence has been providing support to flood-affected population in Amuria District, including vulnerable recent returnees. 18.500 persons have received food assistance, i.e. 10% of the district population, while 55 km of flood-affected roads have been rehabilitated.
The slow pace of return in Amuria district – only 7% of the IDPs have been able to return – should accelerate if security conditions improve, which seems likely to happen. Première Urgence intends to support these returns in 2008 by implementing programmes of roads and schools rehabilitation, food assistance, agricultural support and improved access to safe water.