In September I wrote about my findings during a trip through five districts of northern Uganda on post conflict development and recovery programs. This was after government ran supplements in news papers celebrating achievements in the recovery programmes in the north. My findings were that people were not prepared for the new environment after living for years in the camps.

Now a new report released by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council shows that most returned IDPs lack basic services and that the vulnerability has increased.

In Acholi and Teso sub-regions, 92 per cent of the 1.8 million people displaced into camps had returned home or resettled in other areas by December 2010.

Below are excerpts out of the reports that I thought were important to note.

The sustainability of returns is in doubt . Despite lasting peace in the region, since 2006, returns have outpaced recovery planning and implementation. Most IDPs have returned to areas offering few basic services such as water, health care and education facilities. Current and planned efforts notwithstanding, there is general agreement that it will take many years to rehabilitate northern Uganda.

The government and its international partners did not start to implement recovery programmes until 2008, and their impact is yet to be felt. By December 2010, the Consolidated Appeal for humanitarian support in 2010 was 49 per cent funded; this Appeal is expected to be the last.

Large recovery and development programmes in northern Uganda have been delayed for long periods; confusion about funding between the government and development partners has persisted, and there has been a lack of coordination between the government, the donors and the UN.

Vulnerability continues

OCHA notes that access to basic services has remained elusive for the majority of people in return areas. Inadequate health care infrastructure has left populations susceptible to epidemics, as demonstrated by the persistence of the Hepatitis E outbreak in Kitgum and the re-emergence of polio in Amuru. A higher than average HIV prevalence, second only to rates in Kampala, could lead to a pandemic in the absence or insufficiency of testing, treatment or counselling services.

Other issues include food security and land issues.