UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - Regional Overview: East and Horn of Africa

The refugee situation in the East and Horn of Africa region remains complex. The civil war in the Sudan raged on, in spite of the April 1997 peace agreement, uprooting some four million people internally and since late 1996 prompting 374,000 to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. In northern Uganda, there have been indiscriminate attacks on both national and refugee populations by two different rebel groups operating in the north, while security in the entire north-west of the country is threatened by the conflict in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea still simmers, plans to accept the return of some 151,000 Eritreans living in the Sudan have been halted. Bandit attacks on refugees in general and the rape of refugee women in particular around the Dadaab camps in north-east Kenya created a high level of insecurity in the area. Women easily become victims when gathering firewood outside the camps. UNHCR, its partners and interested donors continue to take measures to address the problem. The El Niño weather phenomenon of 1998 caused major flooding that washed out roads in north-east Kenya. Food and other assistance items had to be air freighted during the first quarter of the year.

Some Successful Repatriations

The repatriation of some 72,300 Ethiopian refugees from the Sudan, begun in 1993, was concluded in May 1998. Repatriation to north-west Somalia (Somaliland) was resumed in late 1997. Some 55,500 Somali refugees from camps in Ethiopia have already returned home under this programme. Since 1992 some 176,466 refugees were repatriated from Kenya: 155,149 persons were repatriated to north-west and north-east Somalia, 63,601 to Ethiopia and 16,307 returned to other countries of origin. The voluntary repatriation of 9,500 Congolese refugees from Uganda to the Democratic Republic of the Congo was completed in August 1998. As part of the Uganda Programme, refugees are transferred from transit camps to settlements where they are allocated land to farm, and can thereby achieve a level of self-sufficiency. A reforestation programme, the Global Forest, has also been launched in Uganda.

Looking Ahead

UNHCR will continue to promote voluntary repatriation and vigorously pursue the reintegration process begun in various countries of origin. Activities specifically designed for women and children will also be promoted, as will activities that benefit local populations. UNHCR will also help rehabilitate environments damaged by long-term refugee settlements.

Budget US$

The budget does not include costs at Headquarters.

CountryGeneral programmesSpecial ProgrammesTotal
The Sudan9,593,300701,10610,294,406
Other Countries*923,269923,269

* Includes costs in Somalia, while the budget presented on page 120 covers costs in Somalia, asylum countries and at Headquarters.

** Other countries include The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Yemen.