Monday, November 08, 2004

Uganda: shocking numbers

Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) has released some shocking numbers about the 1.6 million people displaced by the civil war in northern Uganda.
MSF research conducted last month in six refugee camps in remote Lira and Pader districts, 400 km (250 miles) north of the capital Kampala, found a crude mortality rate of 2.8 deaths per 10,000 people per day for the general population.

"According to the internationally agreed benchmarks a rate of more than two per 10,000 a day is classed an 'emergency out of control'," MSF said in the statement.

"The mortality rate was even more alarming among children under five years of age, at 5.4 deaths per 10,000 children a day, with the rate as high as 10.5 deaths per 10,000 children a day in one location," it said.

A separate mental health study conducted in Pader town revealed almost all respondents had been exposed to severely traumatic experiences in the last two years.

"Sixty-three percent report the disappearance or abduction of a family member, 58 percent report the death of a family member due to the insurgency, 79 percent have witnessed torture, and 40 percent have witnessed a killing," MSF said.

"Another very disturbing figure is that five percent of the population have been forced to physically harm somebody."

MSF said its doctors in Pader had treated several patients for the consequences of failed suicide attempts, and that 62 percent of women interviewed thought about committing suicide. (source)
MSF's press release.