DR Congo + 1 more

Congolese refugee influx into Uganda: Situation Report No. 3, 21 Nov 2008


- In the course of last week, over 800 Congolese transferred to Nakivale refugee settelement (674 from Ishasha and 135 from Kisoro)

- The total number of refugees who fled from DRC into Uganda since the beginning of August is therefore 13,000, including the 6,400 who are now being assisted in Nakivale

- Water and sanitation facilities in transit centres in Kisoro and Ishasha have significantly improved

Situation Overview

In the course of last week, the influx of Congolese refugees into Uganda has reduced, with only 674 new arrivals though Ishasha border point. The total number of Congolese refugees who fled to Uganda from DRC since the beginning of August is therefore of over 13,000.

Some 804 refugees have been transferred to Nakivale since last Thursday 13th November. This number includes 674 people from Ishasha and 136 from Kisoro. In Nakivale, the Government of Uganda, UNHCR and other partners are presently assisting a total of 6,400 new arrivals from DRC, who joined the already existing population of over 28,000 refugees since the beginning of August.

Groups of refugees who have been living with local communities around Busanza, in Kisoro, for the last few weeks, have finally decided to come forward to ask for assistance and they are being transferred to Nakivale. This is a very important development, as relief assistance cannot be delivered to the new arrivals at the border.

Main Challenges

Water, sanitation and medical facilities in Nakivale are over-stretched due to the high rate of transfers and the large number of new arrivals. New NGO actors will intervene to help with the response, under the coordination of the Office of the Prime Minister in Mbarara and UNHCR.

Humanitarian Response

MSF France is continuing to provide water to the refugees at Ishasha Transit Centre, where it has recently set up a health post to assist the increasing need for health screening of the new arrivals. In Kisoro, MSF is supporting the health post in Nyakabande Transit centre by providing drugs, transporting urgent cases to the Kisoro district hospital and carrying out surveillance to prevent the outbreak of other diseases. A team has been sent to Nakivale to support the water, sanitation and health sectors in the areas where the new arrivals are settled.

Save the Children has set up a 'safe space' in the Reception Centre in Nakivale, where various recreational activities and special psychological support programmes are implemented for the newly arrived Congolese children. The organization is also ensuring proper foster care for un-accompanied minors.

The Uganda Red Cross Society continues to register refugees and unaccompanied minors in Kisoro and Ishasha. UCRS carried out public awareness campaigns, sensitizing people on good hygiene and sanitation practices in Ishasha. At the reception centre in Nyakabande, URCS provided Non Food Items (including cooking pots, plates and blankets) to be used by the refugees during their stay in Nyakabande.

UNICEF has sent 50 mobilets and installed an additional 22 latrine stances, while an additional 9 are expected to be finished this week in Nakivale. UNICEF will also send 1,000 plastic basins, 2,345 blankets, 10,686 bars of laundry soap, 580 Mama Kits (clean delivery kits), 50 cartons of Oral Re-hydration Salts (ORS), 4 boxes of water purification tablets, 613 family kits (emergency shelter and household non-food items), 7 water tanks, 140 litres, 104 jerry cans, 364 tarpaulins and 145 washing facilities to Nakivale.

WFP continues to provide food to the refugees in the Transit Centres and in Nakivale.

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. UNHCR has deployed three additional emergency staff members seconded from the Danish Refugee Council to Ishasha to assist with the emergency. The new team arrived in Uganda last week-end.

In coordination with its implementing partners in Nakivale (GTZ, AAH, IMC and Save the Children), UNHCR is delivering protection and assistance to all the new arrivals in the reception and registration centres. Through the registration of each individual, UNHCR and partners are able to re-adjust the response provided to the specific needs of the population. Special programmes are implemented for the few hundred un-accompanied minors and other persons with specific needs.

While the refugee influx has reduced significantly, UNHCR continues to monitor and coordinate with the Government of Uganda for the upgrade of the transit centres in Kisoro and Kanungu as well as strengthening its reception capacity at Nakivale and preparing for the identification of a second refugee settlement that would accommodate the new arrivals, when Nakivale's capacity is exhausted.