Jan Peter Stellema, project coordinator for MSFH, at work in Lira.
For more than 19 years, civilians living in northern Uganda have faced massive violence inflicted by local insurgents as well as by the national army. Brutal attacks, carried out in countless villages, have led to the displacement of much of the rural population in the districts of Kitgum, Gulu, Lira and Pader, as well as in the many camps set up to shelter them. In 2003, the crisis escalated further, bringing the war to Lira and Teso - regions previously unaffected by the violence. Some 1.6 million people - or 80 percent of the region's population - has been forced to flee, and the northern Uganda economy is in tatters.