Democratic Republic of the Congo UNHCR Mid-Month Update (1 – 15 April 2019)
■ An influx of Central African refugees has been taking place since 4 April in Mogoro, about 45km from Gbadolite in Nord-Ubangi Province. UNHCR and its partner the National Refugee Commission (CNR) preregistered 3,829 people (1,096 households). However it was yet to be established how many among them fled the recent violence in Basse Kotto, Central African Republic. In addition, 1,467 households had already been biometrically registered in DRC in 2017, as they had likely returned to the Central African Republic, then fled to DRC again.
■ UNHCR and CNR distributed refugee attestations to 877 of the Central African households who were among the new influx, but who already held refugee status in DRC since 2017.
■ Between 1 and 15 April, UNHCR biometrically registered and relocated 428 South Sudanese refugees to Biringi settlement in Ituri Province, as part of the recent influx into DRC following fresh violence in South Sudan. Since January 1, UNHCR biometrically registered and relocated a total of 2,985 South Sudanese refugees to Biringi.
■ 415 shelters belonging to Burundian refugees were rehabilitated in Lusenda camp, South Kivu Province, after having been damaged by bad weather. In Mulongwe settlement, South Kivu Province, 60 households also received shelter construction kits; a total of 6,661 Burundian refugees resided in the settlement as of 31 March.
■ 22 Rwandan refugees were repatriated from North Kivu Province in the first half of April, and a total of 439 were repatriated from DRC since January 2019 (figures pending final verification in Rwanda). In South Kivu Province, UNHCR and CNR agreed to place greater emphasis on awareness-raising through radio, pamphlets, and “go and see visits” to Rwanda.
■ On 17 April, UNHCR resumed the profiling of returnees and expelled people from Angola, after a halt in December. UNHCR and partners reported that expulsions and returns from Angola are ongoing in the border crossing point of Kamako, Kasai Province.
■ Following an inter-agency assessment mission from 9 to 14 April, humanitarian actors found that 18,000 people (3,720 households) expelled or returned from Angola have settled or are transiting in Lomami Province.
They arrived in Wikong and Kalanda Health Zones, and in the town of Mwene Ditu, between October 2018 and April 2019.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
■ From 2 to 6 April, UNHCR’s partner INTERSOS confirmed the presence of almost 11,500 new IDPs in three localities of Masisi Territory, North Kivu Province, and assessed the protection environment. INTERSOS found that 60 IDPs were murdered, 13 wounded and 20 kidnapped during clashes between armed groups that took place in the first three months of 2019. Another 133 were victims of extortion. INTERSOS recorded 15 cases of rape, mostly committed by armed groups, in two health centers in March, but many more were likely to have remained unreported. Nine prostitution houses were recorded, employing IDP girls aged 14 to 17 who resorted to survival sex. In terms of child protection, INTERSOS recorded eight cases of child recruitment in armed groups, two children killed during clashes and nine unaccompanied children.
■ There was a need for shelter, as a majority lived with host families despite insufficient space, which led some to sleep in churches. The health center in one of the localities (Kirumbu) was only able to treat benign cases for lack of medical equipment, and had no available PEP kits for rape survivors. There was a school hosting 236 IDPs children in Mweso town, but IDP parents were not able to pay school fees, increasing risks of drop-outs.
In terms of livelihoods, IDPs mostly worked as laborers in local inhabitants’ fields but did not have access to land to cultivate. UNHCR has put together a response plan which focuses on protection monitoring, community protection, shelter, livelihoods, health, and WASH.
■ In Ituri Province, UNHCR and partners collected the long-term intentions of IDPs living in ten spontaneous sites, including in Bunia. Of the 17,893 people surveyed (4,672 households), 79% wished to return to their area of origin. Among the answers given by IDPs, 59% said they wished to return within 30 days if security allowed, 17% did not know where to stay upon returning, and 73% said they needed a new shelter. The exercise also found that 85% of children did not have a birth certificate, exposing them to the risk of statelessness.
■ Results became available for a similar exercise conducted in March in 12 IDP sites coordinated by UNHCR in North Kivu Province’s Masisi, Rutshuru and Walikale territories. Out of the 9,811 surveyed households, 45% wanted to settle in their area of displacement but outside of a site, 22% wanted to return home, and 16% wished to be relocated to another site. This exercise also found that 11,034 children were out of school.