Across the Great Lakes region, some 7.4 million people are uprooted. Uganda now hosts the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. About 74,500 Congolese crossed into Uganda from 1 January to 16 April, in the wake of new violence in the Ituri and North Kivu regions of the DRC, with an average of more than 680 refugees arriving from the DRC each day in March. The DRC is itself host to more than half a million refugees from other countries in the region. Meanwhile, there are unverified reports of Congolese returning to the DRC from Angola, Burundi, Tanzania and Zambia. In early April, 2,600 Burundians who had arrived from the DRC to Rwanda in March decided to voluntarily return to Burundi. However, some 432,000 Burundian refugees remain in neighbouring countries.
Sexual violence is a major concern in the region, much of it unreported and unaddressed. Many refugees arriving from the DRC in neighbouring countries report having endured sexual and gender-based violence. A recent assessment found that 10 per cent of newly arrived children in Uganda said they were raped during their journey.
Levels of hunger and malnutrition are at historically high levels in the DRC, with more than 4.6 million children acutely malnourished, 2.2 million of whom severely acutely malnourished. However, in a positive development, maize prices in Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda in March were well below their levels at the same time in 2017. Heavy rains and floods in Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda have left at least 60 people dead, others injured and many houses destroyed or damaged in March and April.
The region continues to battle simultaneous outbreaks of communicable diseases, mainly cholera. In the DRC, nearly 8,000 cholera cases have been reported in 2018 but the weekly incidence is declining. More than 2,000 cholera cases have been reported in Uganda since February, mainly among new arrivals from the DRC. Some 36 per cent of the cholera cases reported in Uganda are children under age 5. Tanzania is tackling cholera outbreaks in five locations and an outbreak of dengue fever is ongoing in Dar es Salaam, with 13 cases reported so far.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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