First convoy relocating 1,100 refugees from Nyabiheke camp to the newest refugee camp, Mugombwa, dispatched:
On February 26th the first convoy comprising 249 refugees departed Nyabiheke camp to move to more suitable shelters in Mugombwa, Rwanda’s newest camp. Since the 2012-13 emergency influx, 2,000 refugees have been living in hangars (temporary shelters) in Nyabiheke camp due to lack of space.
In February 2014, UNHCR and the Government of Rwanda opened the country’s fifth camp, Mugombwa, to accommodate the 7,000+ refugees living in Nkamira transit centre, and other refugees from the influx living in overcrowded conditions in Nyabiheke. The convoys are being organized weekly and the relocation is expected to take one month.
Within the first month of her appointment, the new United States Ambassador in Rwanda, H.E. Erica Barks-Ruggles, undertook her first visit to a refugee camp in the country by visiting Gihembe camp, in the company of the Honorable Minister of MIDIMAR, the UNHCR Representative, and the Country Director of ARC (top right photo). The Ambassador was particularly interested in the resettlement program, in which up to 10,000 Congolese refugees in Rwanda may be considered for resettlement to the U.S. In addition, the delegation visited ARC livelihoods activities following a town hall discussion in which refugees voiced challenges they face in the camp. Refugees requested the U.S. to play a greater role in the efforts to stabilize the eastern DRC, their area of origin, so as to enable their safe and dignified return home.
UNHCR hosted a working lunch session with MIDIMAR, Ambassadors, partners and representatives of humanitarian agencies for an update on the refugee situation in Rwanda, and notably on emergency preparedness in case of a mass influx. Significant challenges were highlighted in the areas of health, education, access to water and shelter, among others, which can be found in a documentary produced by UNHCR Rwanda, viewable at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWjwAhVvTEQ.
A one-day workshop on the use of Geographic Information System (GIS/GPS) devices was conducted near Kigeme camp by Professor Brian Tomaszewski and his colleagues from the Department of Information Sciences and Technology of Rochester’s Institute of Technology. UNHCR, ADRA and PAJER field staff actively participated in this training to promote spatial thinking through community mapping in the camps. These tools will enable maps to be updated often, as static maps do not accurately reflect the dynamic nature of refugee camps. Pinpointing exact locations of structures and services will contribute to improving the existing humanitarian response and applying those ideas to other camps.