Amount Sent: US$ 56,333
Date: November 2008
Details of Response
Emergency: Congolese Refugees in Uganda
Date of Emergency: 5 November 2008
Implementing Member: Church of Uganda, Planning, Development and Rehabilitation Department (CoU-PDR)
The Democratic Republic of Congo borders Uganda on the southwestern side and borders Rwanda on the northern side. The DRC has experienced a number of ethnic conflicts. This area bordering Uganda and DRC is mainly occupied by Hutus. The minority group in the area is the Banyamurenge ethnic group who feel marginalized.
Since the death of Mobutu, many rebel groups have emerged. Currently a rebel group led by Laurent Nkunda is fighting the Kinshasa government in the area of Rushuru. Mr. Nkunda belongs to the Banyamurenge ethic group in the above-mentioned border area.
The fighting has been ongoing, but in September and October has intensified, forcing many Congolese to seek refuge in Uganda. It is reported by the office of the Prime Minister and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that over 6,500 Congolese refugees have entered Uganda in the districts of Kanungu and Kisoro as a result of the fighting. The majority of those who have crossed the border are children and women. The number is likely to increase as the fighting intensifies in the Rucuru area and towards Goma (North Kivu province).
Most of the refugees fled from Rugarama village, 17km from the Uganda boarder through Busanga boarder post in Kisoro. Most of these refugees have been relocated to Nakivale Refugee settlement according to UNHCR. Nakivale is 400km away from the Uganda-Congo border.
This influx has led to lack of adequate provisions of food, water, health and sanitation facilities in several villages at the border and in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement. The situation has been made worse by a terrible hailstorm on 11 October, which has damaged property and food crops in the gardens in the areas of the refugee influx. Nakivale resettlement area is also a semi-arid area, and this creates a constraint of lack of shelter as there is no grass and trees to use in the construction of shelters and safe water.
A number of agencies have been approached for assistance. The Dioceses of Kinkizi, Muhabura and Ankole have received these refugees. Kinkizi and Muhabura are at the border and are therefore the entry points; Nakivale is located in Ankole Diocese. These Dioceses have approached COU-PDR for its intervention. The core objective is to provide the refugees with basic needs of life to ease their suffering. The main items required by the refugees include clothing, plastic sheeting, water and water containers, blankets, sanitary wear and food.