Rwanda: Population Movement DREF Final Report (MDRRW009)

CHF 201,307 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Rwanda Red Cross Society (RRCS) in delivering immediate assistance to 11,893 people in a total of 2,379 households of which 1,500 comprising 7,500 beneficiaries were targeted with Non Food Items (NFIs) over a three months period.

Summary: Since spring 2012, the situation in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) along the North Kivu border steadily deteriorated into a complex situation with fighting between militias and armed forces. The worsening security situation resulted in an increased influx of ethnically mixed and diverse populations seeking refuge in Rwanda and Uganda, countries that share borders with DRC.

A transit camp was established in Nkamira for reception of the refugees in the district of Rubavu, located at the border.

With the increased influx of refugees, RRCS mobilized its volunteers and staff to provide immediate assistance to the displaced refugees.

RRCS field staff and volunteers helped to settle the refugees in the transit camp of Nkamira (Rubavu district) and in the permanent camp in Kigeme (Nyamagabe district). RRCS also participated, jointly with other actors, in detailed needs assessments within the camps to identify the most vulnerable beneficiaries for assistance.

The DREF operation enabled the distribution of basic household items to 1,400 Congolese refugee households and provision of shelter to some 420 families, to enhance their living situation in the camps. RRCS also provided first aid, referral services and psychological support to 241 affected persons. In addition, together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), RRCS provided services for restoring family links (RFL) in the refugee camps, which contributed to the reunification of displaced children with their families.

Water, sanitation and hygiene activities were implemented in the refugee camps, including awareness raising, in order to improve hygiene and sanitation situations, as well as decrease the risk of waterborne/water related diseases. In total, 13,209 persons, including 209 Rwandan returnees benefited from the different emergency support activities implemented by the RRCS in the two refugee camps.

During the DREF operation, a Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) volunteer was deployed to support coordination, provide technical input, and facilitate the logistics of relief distributions. Apart from the support from IFRC and ICRC, the DREF operation was implemented in close cooperation with the Government of Rwanda, United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), health institutions, and International and local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs.)

Currently, RRCS is still implementing camp management activities in the two refugee camps in Nkamira (transit camp) and in Kigeme (permanent camp) under the coordination and lead by the government authorities and UNHCR.

Among the challenges experienced include coordination the standards of relief items with UNHCR, working with NGO volunteers with limited knowledge and skills of refugee operations, huge size of the camp and limited time frame to effectively carry community sensitisation activities, extremely heavy workload for volunteers, lack of necessary equipment such as computers and cameras and lack of readily available transportation trucks.

Prepositioned relief items in the branch warehouses in strategically placed stocks contributed to a rapid and cost effective response. However, future close coordination with camp management lead agencies is needed in order to verify standards and types of items for planning relief distributions.

In addition, the importance of having trained and skilled volunteers available for implementing emergency operations was highlighted. Targeted capacity building and preparedness of branches in districts where population movement occurs is still needed which would benefit similar future operations.

The Netherlands Red Cross/Government contributed CHF 48,042 CHF, The Belgian Red Cross/Government contributed CHF 50,000 and DG ECHO contributed CHF 103,254 to the DREF which replenished 100% of the allocation made for this operation.

The major donors and partners of DREF include the Australian, American and Belgian governments, the Austrian Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross and government, Danish Red Cross and government, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the Irish and the Italian governments, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Luxembourg government, the Monaco Red Cross and government, the Netherlands Red Cross and government, the Norwegian Red Cross and government, the Spanish Government, the Swedish Red Cross and government, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Medtronic and Z Zurich Foundations, and other corporate and private donors.

The IFRC, on behalf of the Rwandan Red Cross, would like to extend thanks to all for their generous contributions.