This document provides a mid-month update on major developments between the publication of UNHCR’s monthly Operational Update
■ UNHCR and its partner CNR launched the distribution of individual biometric ID cards to an estimated 966 Central African refugees in Inke camp, Nord Ubangi Province. Beneficiaries are youths who turned 12 by June, and refugees who did not receive IDs during the last distribution. In August 2018, a first distribution took place, but was interrupted by technical difficulties. This second phase will ensure that refugees who did not receive ID cards in 2018 are able to receive them.
■ UNHCR’s partner ADSSE distributed several tonnes of clothes, donated by Japanese brand UNIQLO, to 945 Central African refugees in Mole camp, as well as in out-of-camp locations in Sud Ubangi Province. Beneficiaries included 649 persons with specific needs. Several tonnes of clothes were also donated to host community members in the refugee-hosting locality of Monzo.
■ UNHCR’s partner ADSSE distributed 380 benches to primary schools in Inke camp and in the refugee-hosting locality of Nzakara, Nord Ubangi Province. The benches will improve learning conditions for both Central African refugees and Congolese pupils, who used to sit on rocks or tree branches to follow lessons.
■ In the context of Congolese refugees’ spontaneous return from Angola, UNHCR started verifying their refugee status at the Kalamba Mbuji border crossing point. As of 12 September, 8,811 people (2,197 households) had been verified and the exercise was ongoing. As of 13 September, the Governor of Kasai Central Province informed UNHCR that an estimated 7,000 spontaneous returnees had been relocated from Kalamba Mbuji to Kananga, Kasai Central Province. Since then, a majority were relocated again to Nkanji, nearby Kananga.
■ UNHCR was concerned by the sanitary conditions for returnees arriving in Kananga, the provincial capital of Kasai Central Province, who were staying at the Notre Dame church building. There were insufficient latrines and insufficient clean water. On 13 September, returnees demonstrated to request assistance, following the death of a 56 year-old woman returnee.
■ In preparation for organized repatriations from Angola, UNHCR completed 5 hangars, 5 blocks of latrines and 6 blocks of showers in the Kalamba Mbuji Transit Center, as of 13 September. The returnees are set to transit through this point during the organized repatriations, to receive a meal and use showers and latrines. In parallel, as of 13 September, UNHCR built 72 latrines and 68 showers in a spontaneous site in Kalamba Mbuji, to improve sanitary conditions for the spontaneous returnees.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
■ In Ituri Province, clashes continued in the first half of September, leading to further displacements. In May and June, a massive wave of displacement had already displaced 360,000 people, according to OCHA. Between 6 and 13 September, there was a 40% increase the number of human rights violations reported, compared to the previous week. Killings (9), lootings, abductions of children and of displaced people (40), and rapes of women and young girls (10), were perpetrated by armed groups and non-identified armed men in Djugu, Mambasa, and Mahagi territories. Four girl survivors were referred to medical facilities for emergency management and were provided Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) kits within 72 hours.
■ In Ituri Province, 1,124 displaced households in Telega, Kasenyi and Bembeyi received non-food items (NFIs), including plastic sheeting, mats, blankets, laundry soap, mosquito nets, and jerrycans during UNHCR-led distributions. Women and girls received dignity kits composed of sanitary pads and soap.
■ In Drodro, one of the locations with a high concentration of IDPs in Ituri Province, UNHCR and its partner the Danish Refugee Council finalized 26 collective hangars out of 39 planned. Some 189 families have moved to the hangars, vacating school classrooms that they were previously occupying, and contributing to the resumption of normal classes. However, other classrooms were still being used as shelter by IDPs.
■ The security situation in North Kivu Province remained extremely volatile. Clashes in Lubero Territory led to the displacement of 11,896 people. The majority were women and children staying in host families, facing staggering protection needs. School activities were paralysed due to ongoing violence.
■ In Nobili (North Kivu Province), which hosts almost 16,000 IDPs, the local Humanitarian Coordination Team issued an alert on the occupation of schools and churches by 655 IDP households, a few days before the start of the school year. UNHCR assistance addressed part of the shelter needs, but new displacements (also caused by recent flooding that affected 838 households) created additional needs.
■ In the first week of September, 84 family shelters were constructed for returnees and IDPs in Masisi and Rutshuru territories, North Kivu Province. In total, 722 were completed so far, out of the 810 planned.
■ In the first two weeks of September, thirteen cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) were documented by protection monitoring in North Kivu Province, and were referred to emergency medical facilities, where they received Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) kits within 72 hours.
■ On 13 September, a fire broke out in Kabembe IDP site, 15km from Kalemie in Tanganyika Province, killing two girls aged 5 and 7 and inflicting serious burns to their pregnant mother. The fire spread to 36 shelters, while 63 shelters were destroyed in an effort to stop the fire. A total of 99 shelters were therefore affected.
Clusters and Working Groups
■ On 13 September, the CCCM Cluster, co-lead by UNHCR and IOM, carried out an emergency visit to the IDP site of Kabembe, Tanganyika Province, after a deadly fire broke out, killing two, injuring one and destroying 99 shelters. The CCCM Cluster referred the injured person to an adapted medical structure in Kalemie, through Médecins du Monde. Partners AIDES and ICRC buried the victims and established lists of destroyed shelters and of needs, to be referred to relevant actors. The affected families were temporarily moved to transit hangars.
■ On 12 September, the Shelter Working Group (SWG), led by UNHCR, shared its new strategy for DRC. The document is available online.
■ On 10 September, the SWG shared documentation linked to the “comprehension and valorisation of local construction” - one of the aspects of the SWG’s work. The documentation consisted of a user guide and tools to analyse construction habits, and a catalogue showcasing results of previous analyses.