Assistance to Congolese refugees in Rwamwanja Resettlement Site, Kamwenge District in Uganda
1. Brief description of the emergency
After three years of relative peace, conflict has returned to North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) causing many Congolese to flee to neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda. On June 25, IRIN reported that there are more than 200,000 IDPs in North Kivu Province of DRC. This knowledge coupled with the International Crisis Group’s prediction of an eminent risk of an escalation of violence that could see more refugees pouring onto Uganda and Rwanda indicates that a significant portion of these 200,000 IDPs will soon enter Uganda. Already, the International Crisis Group estimated that nearly 20,000 Congolese refugees have crossed into Uganda since April. As such, a transit camp (Nykabande Transit Center) was established in the Ugandan border town of Kisoro where refugees are registered upon entry into Uganda and then later ferried, if they wish, to resettlement sites around the country.
The main settlement is Rwamwanja in Kamwenge District. As the conflict is protracted and Congolese are losing hope in returning home, more and more Congolese refugees are opting to be resettled to Rwamanja Resettlement Site. The resettlement site has continued to receive more refugees and the services at the site are insufficient to meet the basic needs of this population. This has resulted to a dire humanitarian situation.
The settlement has already exceeded 13,000 refugees, with a further 6,000 in transit to the site. This number is more than the predicted maximum for the year, estimated at 10,000 refugees. Within the next several weeks the settlement is likely to reach 20,000 refugees.
On arrival the refugees are allocated land and receive a few supplies. The supplies are inadequate. Their shelters lack privacy, protection from the weather and sanitary facilities. They also lack tools for food production and clothing.
However, the most urgent needs in the camp are: water, sanitation and hygiene. On average one water source supports about 5,127 people, with an average of three (3) kilometres to the water sources.