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Northern Uganda Death Rate Rivals Iraq's

By       Message Anai Rhoads Ford     Permalink
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While the media covers the ongoing violence in Iraq, Uganda suffers in silence. The northern region of Uganda is dealing with one the worst humanitarian situations in recent history.

A report released by the Civil Society Organizations for Peace in Northern Uganda (CSOPNU) reveals that the death rate is three times that of Iraq's during the onset of war in 2003. Counting the Cost: 20 Years of War in Northern Uganda comes as the United Nations Under-Secretary General Jan Egeland congregates in Kampala with the Ugandan government and other top-level officials to discuss the 20-year conflict in that region.

"U.N. Under-Secretary General Egeland is clearly pushing the Security Council to act, yet none of his recommendations are being implemented. It is time for the Security Council to recognise that its failure to address this crisis is a scar on its record and undermines its credibility. The United Nations must act by passing a resolution urging the government of Uganda to protect its own people," Director of CARE International Kevin Fitzcharles said.

Death Rate

Unmerciful acts upon innocent civilians have taken place between the government of Uganda and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army for the last two decades.

According to the report, the death rate for northern Uganda is currently at 146 deaths per week, which is 0.17 violent deaths per 10,000 people per day. In Iraq, the death toll was estimated to be 0.052 per 10,000 people per day.

Effect on Children

More than 25,000 children have been abducted during the duration of this conflict and a quarter of all children have lost at least one parent over the last decade.

The rate of death among children under the age of 5 is a stupefying 41 percent. The report also estimates that 1,000 babies have been born to young girls and women captured by the rebel army.

Roughly 250,000 children in northern Uganda receive little to no education, despite Uganda's claim of universal primary education.

Up to 45,000 children walk the streets at night and the sleep in the day at makeshift shelters in order to avoid abduction by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

Almost 50 percent of children suffer from malnutrition Kitgum area alone.

"Northern Uganda is one of the world's worst war zones. It is tragedy of the worst proportions. This conflict cannot be allowed to fester any longer," said chairperson of CSOPNU, Stella Ayo Odongo.

Economical Report

The conflict also has had a severe economical impact on the country, averaging $85 million dollars annually.

Over the course of the warfare, an estimated $1.7 billion has been consumed, which equal the aid given to the country by the United States between 1994 to 2002 and double the United Kingdom's aid from 1994 to 2001.

"The Ugandan Government, the rebel army and the international community must fully acknowledge the true scale and horror of the situation in northern Uganda," said Oxfam Policy Advisor in Uganda Kathy Relleen.

The coalition includes Oxfam International, CARE International, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee as well as national and community-based organisations. Over 50 leading NGOs contributed to the report by CSOPNU.

Nearly two million people have been displaced by the warfare.

©2006 Anai Rhoads Ford.


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Anai Rhoads is a Human Rights journalist originally from Athens, Greece. Her work has been featured on several web-based newspapers and media outlets, which include ZMagazine, InfoShop.com, and Media Monitors. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief (more...)

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