Uganda + 2 more

Uganda / Africa: Refugee Influx from DRC - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) update n° 1 DREF n°. MDRUG040

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

Since January 1, 2018, 77,429 people fleeing from interethnic violence that erupted in the Ituri and North Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrived in Uganda. According to the latest UNHCR Inter-Agency Emergency Update on DRC situation, dated April 30, the total number of Congolese refugees in Uganda as of February 28, 2018 is equal to 276,570. Out of this total number 43,908 people arrived between January and December 2017. The refugees reported an increased number of attacks against civilian population, killings, as well as looting, request of ransoms for usage of agricultural lands and destruction of private properties.

The newly arriving refugees are registered by the Ugandan Government in the Refugee Information Management System (RIMS). They are temporarily accommodated at the reception and transit centres where they are provided with food, basic package of Core Relief Items (CRIs) and basic services. When granted the refugee status, they are then allocated plots of land within refugee settlements, and supported with household items, shelter kits and farming implements. Health and WASH services, as well as education support are by various humanitarian agencies, including the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS). The DRC influx constitutes one of the three major refugee emergencies that Uganda is currently provided responding to, in addition to the South Sudanese and Burundi influxes.

The Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) refugee response started on January 17, 2018 through a Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) with a budget of CHF 206,306. With the DREF operation URCS facilitated the provision of emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), community health as well as community engagement and accountability interventions, targeting 6,000 persons in Malembo C zone (5 blocks) and Mombasa zone (6 blocks) within Kyangwali refugee settlement in Hoima District, over a period of three months.

The increased arrival rates, with high levels of unmet needs necessitated the Uganda Red Cross response to extend to a new site in Kyangwali, Maratatu, and to increase the scale of the operation to support extra needs at Kagoma reception centre in the wake of a large cholera outbreak that affected a total of 2,248 persons in both Kyangwali and Emergency Plan of Action Operation Update Uganda / Africa: Refugee Influx from DRC Kyaka II since the outbreak was declared in mid-February 2018, causing 45 deaths (case Fatality Rate=2.0%). The outbreak has since been controlled with no new cases reported in Kyangwali for the past 11 days.

The dire hygiene and sanitation situation triggered by mass arrival in February, and the confirmation of Cholera cases among the refugee population prompted URCS to start the following activities:

  • Cholera prevention and hygiene promotion activities in Sebagoro landing site, Kagoma reception center and the three settlement areas of Maratatu, Marembo C and Mombasa in Kyangwali - Safe water production with the establishment of a water treatment unit (WASH Kit 5, up to 100,000 liters/day) in Kanara landing site (Ntoroko) and a second Kit 5 setup in Maratatu, Kyangwali settlement (this was started under URCS direct funding, to respond to the needs timely timely)

  • Registration of new arrivals in Kanara and Kagoma reception center Sanitation improvement at transit site in Kanara and Kagoma reception center With the support of UNICEF, URCS conducts community-based interventions for prevention and control of Cholera and Shigellosis affecting refugees in Kyaka II settlement, also extending to at-risk neighboring communities in Kyegegwa district.

Protection activities are implemented by URCS in collaboration with ICRC in all crossing points, reception and transit centers, as well as Refugees Settlement. URCS is involved in Child Protection services through the provision of tracing and reunification of unaccompanied and separated children and minors (UAMs), family reunion, telephone services and psychosocial support.

UNHCR is the lead agency in registration, camp management, and shelter (all shelter components, including NFIs for all new arrivals), with various implementing partners. URCS has currently no agreement with UNHCR in Kyangwali or Kyaka II settlements. URCS only recently started activities in these camps and is still in discussion with UNHCR for collaboration. Among the UN agencies, the current agreement is only with UNICEF. UNHCR, together with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is leading the coordination between actors on the ground, which includes URCS operations.

The IFRC Emergency Appeal Operation supports the URCS activities in Kyangwali refugee settlement.
The URCS operation in Kyaka II, Ntoroko landing site and Kagoma reception centre are funded by other partners, including UNICEF and the Netherlands Red Cross. The Austrian RC supports safe water production in Kyangwali and the Belgium RC supports preparedness activities and branch capacity building for the 4 branches supporting the URCS DRC refugee operation.