Democratic Republic of the Congo UNHCR Operational Update, 1 - 30 September 2019
UNHCR will launch the voluntary repatriation of Central African refugees in mid-November. An estimated 4,000 refugees will be repatriated. Three return zones were identified as safe for voluntary repatriations to CAR: Bangui, Ombella M’Poko and Lobaye.
As displacements continued, the Site Management and Coordination Working Group (CCCM) now estimates that 227,000 people are staying in 87 IDP sites in Ituri. At the onset of the crisis in June, there were 145,000 as estimated by OCHA.
Insecurity in the Fizi Highlands and Itombwe sector of South Kivu Province led to 35,000 people becoming internally displaced within two weeks, according to OCHA. In the Minembwe area, intercommunity tensions resulted in additional population movements.
UNHCR and partners (CNR, AIDES, ADES, War Child) biometrically registered 1,199 Burundian asylum-seekers at Kavimvira and Sange Transit Centres (TC). Among them, 1,170 arrived in 2019. The asylum-seekers are hosted at the TCs until they are granted refugee status by authorities. The TCs are overwhelmed following new arrivals in 2019, therefore UNHCR began rehabilitating five dormitories at Kamvivira TC, expanding its capacity to an additional 160 persons. Some asylum-seekers hosted at Sange TC will be transferred to Kamvimvira TC to decongest the former.
As malaria remains the main cause of mortality amongst the host and refugee population, UNHCR’s partner the Danish Refugee Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, distributed 16,563 long-lasting treated mosquito nets (LLINs) - 12,763 in Lusenda camp and 3,800 in Mulongwe settlement.
Five separated refugee children underwent Best Interest Determination (BID) assessments in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement, aiming to reunify them with their families. Another 13 children at risk were identified and will receive additional assistance related to parental care, schooling and nutrition.
As access to clean clothing remains a major challenge for Burundian refugees and the host population, UNHCR’s partner AIDES distributed second-hand clothes to 659 children and 1,007 people with special needs in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement.
Some 7,601 refugee children were enrolled in primary school for 2019-2020 in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement, while 1,754 refugee pupils were enrolled in secondary school. However, overcrowded classrooms, a lack of teachers, and the urgent need to rehabilitate schools are major challenge for refugees’ education.
UNHCR and partner ADES continued to strengthen efforts against cholera, measles and Ebola with routine vaccination, monitoring and increased numbers of handwashing devices in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement. Preliminary results show a positive effect, with only one case of cholera reported in September, against 12 in August. In addition, to support the Government in managing the cholera outbreak in parts of DRC, and to reduce mortality rates amongst refugees and locals, UNHCR donated 30 litres of intravenous (IV) rehydration solution to the Lusenda Health Center, to treat dehydration.
Over 20,000 kgs of soap were distributed to 28,033 Burundian refugees and asylum-seekers in Lusenda camp and in transit centers. Access to soap and clean water reduces risks of water borne diseases.
Following an assessment aiming to upgrade water infrastructures in Lusenda camp, an additional 2,600 household latrines will be constructed. There are currently only 1,900 latrines for 7,175 households.
To prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) amongst refugees, UNHCR-supported SGBV subcommittees organized awareness-raising sessions for 2,332 participants in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement, on the prevention of rape, early marriage, denial of resources and physical violence.
To promote refugees’ and locals’ self-reliance, UNHCR’s partner ADRA facilitated the sale of farmers associations’ harvest in Mulongwe settlement. Some 2,000kg of cabbage, 4,000kg of tomatoes, 1,000kg of onions, and 3,000kg of eggplant were sold at the local market.