UNHCR Weekly Emergency Update #16 - Ituri and North Kivu Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 15 October – 21 October 2019

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 21 Oct 2019

Operational context and protection situation

Ituri Province

Armed confrontations continued to endanger civilians during the reporting period, mostly in Irumu and Djugu territories. Most reported human rights violations were injuries (30), forced labor (29), lootings (28) and sexual violence (10), with 185 incidents documented overall. Returns of IDPs to their areas of origin were observed, due to a lull in fighting in certain areas of Djugu Territory after the latest peak of violence in June 2019. An estimated 2,528 displaced households now returned to 14 villages in the Dhendo community, while 1,459 returned to 16 villages in Linga community, according to OCHA. Peace and reconciliation efforts continued in Djugu Territory; during the reporting period, community leaders signed an agreement with the Provincial Government, positioning themselves against assailants’ activities. Attacks against Ebola Emergency Response Teams and health facilities intensified recently, and remain of concern in Mambasa Territory. Lootings by presumed elements of an armed group in search of food for survival also continued to be reported in southern Irumu Territory.

BACKGROUND: Since 6 June, generalized violence has led to massive new displacements in Ituri Province. UNHCR and IOM recorded over 110,000 new arrivals in IDP sites in Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu territories between 31 May and 20 June. OCHA estimated that 360,000 people were displaced by the recent crisis; some 145,000 towards IDP sites and the rest to host communities. As displacements continued, Ituri’s Site Management and Coordination Working Group (CCCM) now estimates that almost 227,000 people are staying in 87 IDP sites. Outside of Bunia, the largest concentrations of IDPs are found in Drodro, Rho, Fataki, Kasenyi and Tchomia, in Djugu and Irumu territories. In Mahagi Territory, there is a large concentration of IDPs in Ramogi. Spontaneous returns of an estimated 1,575 people who had fled to Uganda were observed, but UNHCR is not able to confirm exact numbers. UNHCR’s Protection Monitoring system documented 4,567 incidents between January and September 2019 in Ituri Province.

North Kivu Province

The security and protection situation in North Kivu remained of concern during the week. Between 11 and 17 October, 239 human rights violations (mainly extortions, lootings, bodily harm and SGBV) were recorded by UNHCR’s Protection Monitoring; an increase of almost 90% compared to the previous week. OCHA estimates that over 147,000 people have been displaced since January 2019 in the Bwito and Bashali Mukoto health zones, in Masisi and Rutshuru territories. That represents close to 15% of the total population. In northern Beni Territory, the town of Oicha is home to some 20,000 recent IDPs, many of whom still live in precarious conditions in spontaneous IDP sites or schools. Most IDPs in Oicha lack access to water and sanitation. Peaceful coexistence between IDPs, host communities and indigenous populations in the area is complicated by limited access to basic resources. Around Nobili on the Ugandan border, returns of IDPs to the town of Kamango and surroundings have been reported since 4 October, now in large numbers. Some 95,000 IDPs (out of an estimated total of 112,000) would have returned according to OCHA, and now face needs in their return areas. A DRC Humanitarian Fund allocation is foreseen to address their urgent needs in nutrition, health and protection.

BACKGROUND: Since 30 March, and with a sharp intensification as of 7 May, attacks against civilians and military outposts by members of a prominent armed group led to significant displacements from the town of Kamango towards the town of Nobili (Beni Territory). By 24 June 94,612 displaced people (15,991 households) had been registered in Nobili and 9 surrounding localities, but displacements continued: the Nobili crisis committee recorded 6,329 newlydisplaced households between June and August. Until recently, OCHA put the estimated total number of IDPs in the area at around 112,000. In other territories of North Kivu, OCHA estimates that over 67,000 were displaced towards host communities in May and June alone, while arrivals into several IDP sites have been significant. In July, UNHCR and the National Refugee Commission (CNR) recorded 5,256 new IDPs (1,225 households) in 8 IDP sites in Masisi, with the most having arrived to Bukombo site (2,754 persons). UNHCR’s Protection Monitoring system documented 7,813 protection incidents between January and September throughout the Province.