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

UNHCR Fundraising Reports, 1 December 1998

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
Djibouti1,963,600416,3192,379,919
Eritrea812,8001,137,1871,949,987
Ethiopia18,720,2008,322,91027,043,110
Kenya17,577,3004,656,48822,213,788
Somalia*144,80010,709,84810,854,648
The Sudan9,593,300701,10610,294,406
Uganda19,475,000953,10020,428,100
Other Countries*923,269923,269
TOTAL68,267,00027,820,22796,087,227

* 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.

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Author Hosseini in Afghanistan

UNHCR Goodwill Envoy Khaled Hosseini visited Afghanistan in early September and saw first-hand one of the UN refugee agency's largest and most complex operations. During a 10-day trip, the best-selling author visited UNHCR projects and met returnees in the northern provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan, Balkh, Parwan and Kabul. Hosseini, a former Afghan refugee now settled in the United States, noted that it would take time and effort for Afghanistan to provide returnees with adequate infrastructure and services. He urged the international community to remain committed to Afghanistan and to give the country time. Hosseini could not visit the south and parts of the east, where insecurity is impacting on the ability of UNHCR to assess needs and provide assistance to those who need it the most. Since 2003, UNHCR has helped more than 4 million refugees return to Afghanistan. This year, some 300,000 Afghan refugees have returned from Pakistan. More than 900,000 remain in Iran and 2 million in Pakistan.

Author Hosseini in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: An Uncertain Future

For over a quarter of a century, Afghanistan has been devastated by conflict and civil strife, with some 8 million people uprooted internally and in neighbouring countries. The overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 resulted in one of the largest and most successful return operations in history.

Seven years on, more than 5 million Afghan refugees have returned - increasing Afghanistan's population by an estimated 20 percent.The large majority have gone back to their areas of origin. However, some recent returnees are facing more difficulties as the country's absorption capacity reaches its limits in some areas. Last year, some Afghans returned before they were ready or able to successfully reintegrate due to the closure of refugee villages as well as the deteriorating conditions in Pakistan. In consequence, 30,000 Afghan refugees returned to further displacement in their homeland, unable to return to their villages due to conflict, lack of land, shelter materials, basic services and job opportunities. These challenges have been compounded elsewhere across the country by food insecurity and severe drought.

UNHCR and the Afghan Foreign Ministry highlighted the requirements for sustainable refugee return and reintegration at an international conference in Kabul in November 2008. The donor community welcomed the inclusion of refugee reintegration within the government's five-year national development strategy and the emphasis on land, shelter, water, sanitation, education, health care and livelihoods. It is anticipated that repatriation and reintegration will become more challenging in future.

Afghanistan: An Uncertain Future

Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

As the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon continues to grow, ensuring access to quality health care is becoming an increasing challenge for humanitarian aid groups and the international community. So, Kuwait's unprecedented donation in April of US$110 million for UNHCR's Syria crisis operations this year came at a most opportune time. Slightly more than 40 per cent of the amount has been used to fund programmes in Lebanon, including the provision of vital - and often life-saving - medical care. In the following photo gallery, photographer Shawn Baldwin looks at the essential work being done in just one Kuwaiti-supported clinic in northern Lebanon. The small Al Nahda Primary Health Care Clinic in the town of Beddawi has a staff of seven doctors and one nurse. Between 600 and 700 people seek medical attention there every month and the clinic meets the needs of some of the most vulnerable refugees.

Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

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