Uganda: Population movement, DREF operation n° MDRUG027

CHF 286,664 has been allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) in delivering immediate assistance to some 15,700 beneficiaries (2,617 households) over three months. The operation is to be completed by the end of September 2012 and a final report is to be presented by December 31 2012. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: An upsurge of refugees’ population in Uganda has been noticed within the last two months fleeing intensified fighting in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo between the government and rebel factions within Eastern DRC – mainly a rebel grouping named M23. Towns bordering the country continue to receive daily exodus of refugees seeking safety in Uganda. Between February and May 2012, the number of fleeing refugees has increased fifteen folds as refugees fled to Bunagana and Kisoro. Since then the clashes involving the government of the D.R. Congo and rebels have stretched to cover areas in both North and South Kivu. In-coming refugees and fleeing Congolese authorities that the Uganda RCS has interviewed during registration have indicated that the number of refugees fleeing the D.R. Congo is most likely to rise over the next few weeks should the conflict in that country continue or intensify – the number is also likely to rise because many Congolese are still making their way to the Ugandan and Rwandan borders for safety. A number of pygmies are among the refugees, and there are reports that they are being discriminated against by the some members of the majority refugee population – the pygmies therefore have special protection needs.

On entering the country, most refugees have been opting to stay at Bunagana because of the proximity to their villages but are being persuaded to leave the area for the transit camp in Kisoro (13km away) at Nyakabande from where they are later being transferred to a permanent refugee settlement camp in Rwamwanja. Government has been encouraging the refugees to move to Nyakabande from where they can be assisted. This has intensified over the last days and culminated into the movement into the Nyakabande transit camp.

Uganda RCS has been: supporting UNHCR in refugee registration; providing hygiene promotion; conducting tracing and restoring family links; conducting distributions of WFP food and supporting the distribution of UNHCR NFIs.