ALEBTONG- At least 200,000 former internally displaced persons (IDPs) are facing hardships in Alebtong District due to inadequate basic services and limited help to rebuild their lives.
Ms Barbara Akech, the secretary for community based services, said the majority of people who fled the area in 1980s have returned and are in deplorable conditions because the district lacks capacity to support them.
“They are really suffering. Peace Recovery and Development Plan programmme is restricted and does not cater for the needs of the returnees apart from infrastructural development. The projects which are brought by the government are inadequate and cannot benefit everyone,” Ms Akech told this newspaper in a telephone interview on Sunday.
From 1986 to 2006, northern Uganda endured a bloody insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in which an estimated 100,000 people were killed and nearly two million displaced.
In Alebtong, more than 100 innocent civilians, including children lost their lives and hundreds were displaced between 2003 and 2004 when the LRA war was intense in the north.
Mr David Kennedy Odongo, the chairperson of the district, which was carved out of Lira in 2010, said it does not have the funds to support the former IDPs.
He said government has been planning for only 233,000 people using data obtained during the 2002 population census yet the population is higher than that.
Mr Odongo said when the former IDPs returned to their villages, the population shot to about 500,000.
“We are experiencing problems in the health facilities because they are using the 2002 population census but our population is bigger than that. That is why we are having difficulties in giving the medical services to our people,” he said.
Ms Beatrice Adongo, a former IDP, appealed to government to set up special livelihood projects for the former IDPs.