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Cablegate: Uganda: Local Resources Meet the Needs of Kenyan

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKM #0036 0081044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081044Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9850
INFO RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 7072
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0998

UNCLAS KAMPALA 000036

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR PRM/AFR, GENEVA FOR RMA

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF EAID PINS UG
SUBJECT: UGANDA: Local resources meet the needs of Kenyan
refugees

REF: KAMPALA 30

1. (SBU) On January 7, 2008, Refugee Assistant spoke with
Ugandan Red Cross officer, Will Obeka and to GoU Refugee Officer
David Kazungu regarding the influx of Kenyans into Uganda. The
Uganda Red Cross led the national response to the current influx
of Kenyan refugees in Uganda's Malaba, Musafa, and Busia
districts. The Red Cross, supported by ICRC, and the government
of Uganda provided food and non-food items to an estimated 662
families, 2292 individuals. Refugees were finding shelter with
locals and making homes in ad hoc transit camps on school
properties within two kilometers of the Kenya-Uganda border.
OCHA and UNHCR were monitoring events and preparing a response.
End summary.

2. (SBU) Uganda responded well and with compassion to the influx
of what the UN estimated to be 3194 Kenyans into the country in
the last week. The Kenyans, mostly women and small children,
identified themselves as Kikuyu fleeing the ethnic violence in
the border districts. New arrivals were in good condition, with
only a few injuries reported to local medical officials.

3. (SBU) As of January 7, 2008, The GoU and Ugandan Red Cross
delivered 6.5 metric tons of food, and each household received
two jerry cans, two cooking pots, two mosquito nets, eating
utensils for five, and three blankets. The refugees were finding
it difficult to find and acquire firewood for cooking. So far,
the distributions were coming from Red Cross stores, previously
allocated to flood relief, and from locally purchased food paid
for by GoU emergency funds. UNHCR deployed an assessment team to
the region to assist in status determination and to assess
refugee needs. WFP was coordinating with the GoU on possible
interventions.

4. (SBU) The government of Uganda moved registered refugees into
a school grounds where Ugandan Red Cross volunteers provided food
and basic shelter. Local officials conducted a census of
arriving refugees to determine need and to establish prima facie
cases for refugee status. That informtion was shared with the
Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala for final determination
and communication to concerned donors.

5. (SBU) Comment: The refugees present location, two kilometers
from the border is not optimum. However, there is some sign that
refugee families cross into Kenya on a regular basis to assess
the situation. Moving them may prolong their stay in Uganda.
Local officials were concerned that a prolonged refugee stay in
the region might provoke resentment among Ugandans in the
district.

6. (SBU) Comment continued: National resources appear
sufficient to meet the present crisis. On January 9, WFP will
meet with GoU refugee authorities to discuss how WFP could be
helpful in the crisis. WFP is concerned that the distribution of
more food aid may serve as a pull factor. Additionally,
WFP/Uganda currently only has a six-week pipeline for its
existing obligations under the Uganda PRRO and the Country
Program. End comment. Chritton

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