DR Congo + 1 more

Congolese refugee influx into Uganda: Situation Report No. 2, 13 Nov 2008


- A further influx of some 2,000 refugees into Ishasha brings the total number of refugees who fled from DRC into Uganda to over 12,000

- 596 Congolese have been transferred to Nakivale on Wednesday 12 and 693 will be transferred today, Thursday 13

- Transit centres in Kisoro and Ishasha are now fully functional

Situation Overview

Continued violence in Eastern DRC caused a further influx of refugees into Uganda on Tuesday 11th November. Around 2,000 Congolese crossed the Ugandan border into Ishasha, Kanungu district, in the early hours of the morning. They said they had been walking for over two weeks before finally reaching refuge in Uganda.

This group of 2,000 new arrivals brings the total number of Congolese refugees who fled into Uganda to over 12,000.

A few hundreds Congolese, among the 2,000 new arrivals seem to have crossed back into DRC a few hours after their arrival, while a first group of 596 people has been transferred to Nakivale refugee settlement yesterday, Wednesday 12, and more busses will bring another group of the registered 693 additional people today, Thursday 13th, from Ishasha. One bus with around 60 people has left Kisoro for Nakivale.

The transit centres in Kisoro and Ishasha are now fully functional and they host on a daily basis all the refugees willing to relocate to Nakivale. In the Transit Centre, the refugees are offered a hot meal and water, in addition to some basic non food items (blankets, jerrycans and, in some instances, shelter material).

Once arrived in Nakivale, the new arrivals are medically screened, registered and they are hosted in a reception centre. They receive kitchen sets, buckets, plastic sheeting, seeds and tools, to clear and cultivate the plots of land that the Government will eventually allocate to them if they decide to stay for a long period of time in Uganda.

Main Challenges

Lack of adequate water facilities in Ishasha Transit Centre has been a major challenge. Thanks to MSF France's intervention, the group of 2,000 new arrivals have accessed safe water though a 50,000 litres water tank, installed yesterday Wednesday 12.

Humanitarian Response

Save the Children has deployed teams to Kisoro and Ishasha. The teams are supporting UNHCR in registering the newly arrived unaccompanied minors, who are being transferred to Nakivale. Save the Children also started a training in Child Protection for the Ugandan Red Cross volunteers working in Kisoro and is looking at training local authorities and other partners involved in the emergency response.

MSF France, Merlin, WHO and UNHCR have carried out an assessment of the health situation at the border areas and in Nakivale. MSF had also supported the referral of a few patients to the District Hospital in Mbarara. In Ishasha, MSF is starting to deliver medial care to the new arrivals and is going to install a few additional latrines in Ishasha Transit Centre.

The Uganda Red Cross in Kisoro continued to register the refugees willing to go to Nakivale, distributing the non food items provided by UNHCR. The URC has also supported the Kisoro District Authorities in assessing the needs of the self-settled refugees in Muko, Nteko and Busanza and has carried out a hygiene promotion campaign in the villages along the border where the refugees are being hosted. In Kanungu, URC supported UNHCR in registering the new arrivals and identifying the separated children.

UNICEF has supported Kisoro District to provide three emergency drug kits (basic drugs, ringers lactate, syringes etc) and vaccines to St. Joseph Health Centre III to serve up to 10,000 people, and conduct routine immunization outreach with focus on polio and measles. Support was provided to the District to install and connect a 10,000-litre water tank to existing main supply and to install eight latrine stances and four bathing shelters at the transit centre. 25 water tanks (10,000 litre capacity) and 300 mobilets were pre-positioned in Kisoro, in the eventuality of a larger influx that would cause the opening of a biggest reception centre in Nyakabanda (Kisoro).

In Kanungu, UNICEF supported the district to establish a treatment and immunization site in the Ishasha trading centre.

WFP has provided food to be distributed in the Transit Centres in Kisoro and in Ishasha and is providing full food rations to all new arrivals getting established in Nakivale. In the event of a further influx, WFP has also pre-positioned food for an additional 30,000 people.

UNHCR continues to coordinate all emergency activities at the border areas (Kisoro and Ishasha) and the registration and delivery of assistance in Nakivale refugee settlement. The two transit centres at the border have been set up, although we are coordinating with other partners on improving the sanitation facilities and the water provision. We are organizing transport on a daily basis from the border to Nakivale, where, together with GTZ and the Office of the Prime Minister, the refugees are registered, screened and they receive all necessary assistance.

As a further influx of thousands more refugees is anticipated, UNHCR is coordinating with the Government of Uganda for the establishment of Reception Centres with a capacity of up to 10,000 people both in Kisoro and in Kanungu. Meanwhile, UNHCR is strengthening its reception capacity in Nakivale and preparing for the identification of a second refugee settlement that would accommodate the new arrivals, when Nakivale's capacity is exhausted.


Weekly coordination meetings are held in UNHCR Conference room. Yesterday, Wednesday 12, UNHCR and the State Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Relief and refugees organized a Donor Mission to the Ishasha border.

For further information, please contact:

Roberta Russo, External Relations Officer, UNHCR Uganda