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UNICEF brings help to Ugandans struggling to survive

© UNICEF Uganda/2004/Syington
Attack victims receive blankets and water cans after hundreds at Pagak Camp lose their homes.

Northern Uganda, 26 May 2004 — More than 1.6 million people in Uganda have been forced to flee their homes because of fighting between government and rebel forces. UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, who is visiting the country, says the situation is one of the most serious humanitarian emergencies in the world.

“Many hundreds of thousands of children are living in conditions of fear and violence,” she said. “They are being denied their basic rights to health, protection and education. We need to renew our efforts to alleviate their suffering.”

In northern Uganda, UNICEF is distributing essential supplies to people seeking shelter and safety at Pagak Camp. The camp was attacked this month by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels and more than 50 people were reported killed, including women and children. Hundreds of huts were burned and a number of people are still missing.

Children abducted

The LRA has abducted an estimated 12,000 children in the last two years and forced many to join the conflict. Ms. Bellamy called on the rebels to release all child soldiers immediately. UNICEF is training volunteers to provide counselling to children who have been released.

© UNICEF Uganda/2004/Syington
Pagak Camp: 80 per cent of 1.6 million people displaced in northern Uganda are women and children.

Aid distribution at Pagak Camp is part of an inter-agency effort led by UNICEF. Hundreds of sets of household goods, containing clothing, blankets, soap, jerry cans and tarpaulins, have been given to those who lost their homes during the attack. UNICEF is also providing water and sanitation facilities and helping to construct temporary classrooms for people displaced by the conflict.

The raid was the third to be reported this month as the 18-year-old civil war continues.



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27 May 2004 View report on night commuters of northern Uganda

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Related links

12,000 children have been abducted by LRA rebels since 2002. Read more:
Child soldiers return home
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