The top U.N. humanitarian affairs official says there has been dramatic improvement in northern Uganda since the start of peace talks to end nearly 20 years of devastating civil war.
The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, told the Voice of America that until recently northern Uganda was the world's most neglected emergency. He said it was surprising that the world was ignorant about the 20,000 kidnapped children and the nearly two million displaced people in northern Uganda.
According to Egeland mortality was higher last year in northern Uganda than it was in Darfur on average.
However the UN official said real progress is under way in the region. He disclosed that 300,000 people have returned to their homes in the last few months. Hundreds of thousands are preparing to return home in the next few months.
Egeland said northern Uganda has had the highest degree of security and quiet this year, 2006, than in the past decade. He credits African mediated peace talks between the Ugandan government and rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army for bringing results to the local Acholi people.
The southern Sudanese government has been hosting peace talks in Juba to build on a cease-fire deal agreed to in August.
juba peace talks