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More than 3,000 Congolese flee insecurity, suffering in North Kivu

News Stories, 9 March 2012

© UNHCR/J.Akena
These villagers carry their belongings as they head towards the border with Uganda during an earlier exodus from North Kivu province.

KAMPALA, Uganda, March 9 (UNHCR) More than 3,000 Congolese civilians have fled into Uganda from Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province to escape fresh fighting since the beginning of this year.

"UNHCR is concerned that more people will be forced to flee" if the insecurity and clashes continue, a spokesman said on Friday. "Those arriving in Uganda are mostly farming people, and we are hearing from them accounts of abductions, looting, harassment, and rape," he added.

People are crossing into Kisoro district in south-western Uganda. Most of them originate from North Kivu's Rutshuru district. However, some are coming from Masisi and Walikale territories, located further inside North Kivu about 200 kilometres and 350 kilometres from Uganda respectively.

Some of the refugees told UNHCR staff that following nightly attacks by armed men, whole villages had fled.

In Kisoro, UNHCR staff heard from a Congolese man who described how he was sexually assaulted by several armed men after being forced to witness his wife being gang raped. His daughter, who resisted, was killed by the same group.

UNHCR has opened a transit centre in Nyakabande, Kisoro district, with capacity for 1,000 people. The centre provides tented accommodation, water and sanitation facilities, cooked meals and basic medical care.

Meanwhile, UNHCR is supporting local health centres by providing essential drugs, water and furniture. "We regularly transport refugees from the transit centre to Nakivale and Oruchinga settlements, which already host Congolese refugees, some of whom have been in Uganda since the civil war of the 1990s, as well as people of several other nationalities," the spokesman said.

UNHCR fears that further deterioration of the security situation will stall the tripartite process initiated by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and UNHCR in October 2010 to pave the way for the voluntary return of Congolese refugees living in Uganda. When the tripartite agreement was signed, 32,000 out of the 81,000 Congolese refugees living in Uganda had expressed a wish to return home. More than 7,000 returned spontaneously 2010 and 2011. Renewed violence is forcing many of them back to Uganda.

Fighting involving government troops, rebel forces and local defence groups in the DRC's eastern region has forced more than 100,000 civilians out of their homes since late November. Most are in North Kivu, where some 600,000 people are internally displaced, over one-third of the 1.7 million IDPs countrywide.

By Fatamouta Lejeune-Kaba

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A Time Between: Moving on from Internal Displacement in Uganda

This document examines the situation of IDPs in Acholiland in northern Uganda, through the stories of individuals who have lived through conflict and displacement.

DR Congo Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Intense fighting has forced more than 64,000 Congolese to flee the country in recent months.

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Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

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UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

As a massive food distribution gets underway in six UNHCR-run camps for tens of thousands of internally displaced Congolese in North Kivu, the UN refugee agency continues to hand out desperately needed shelter and household items.

A four-truck UNHCR convoy carrying 33 tonnes of various aid items, including plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets and jerry cans crossed Wednesday from Rwanda into Goma, the capital of the conflict-hit province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The aid, from regional emergency stockpiles in Tanzania, was scheduled for immediate distribution. The supplies arrived in Goma as the World Food Programme (WFP), with assistance from UNHCR, began distributing food to some 135,000 displaced people in the six camps run by the refugee agency near Goma.

More than 250,000 people have been displaced since the fighting resumed in August in North Kivu. Estimates are that there are now more than 1.3 million displaced people in this province alone.

Posted on 6 November 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Since 2006, renewed conflict and general insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province has forced some 400,000 people to flee their homes – the country's worst displacement crisis since the formal end of the civil war in 2003. In total, there are now some 800,000 people displaced in the province, including those uprooted by previous conflicts.

Hope for the future was raised in January 2008 when the DRC government and rival armed factions signed a peace accord. But the situation remains tense in North Kivu and tens of thousands of people still need help. UNHCR has opened sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) and distributed assistance such as blankets, plastic sheets, soap, jerry cans, firewood and other items to the four camps in the region. Relief items have also been delivered to some of the makeshift sites that have sprung up.

UNHCR staff have been engaged in protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs and other populations at risk across North Kivu.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Posted on 28 May 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Uganda: Sudanese Refugees Flee Rebel Attacks

On August 5, 2002, some 24,000 Sudanese refugees fled their homes in Achol-Pii camp in northern Uganda after a bloody attack by the Lord's Liberation Army rebel group. More than 60 refugees and many local villagers were killed in the attack.

Fearing further violence, displaced refugees trekked overnight to Lira, from where UNHCR trucked them to Kiryondongo, 100 km to the south-west. Kiryondongo site, a settlement already hosting 13,000 refugees, was temporarily extended to accommodate the Achol-Pii survivors until another site could be prepared.

Arriving families were initially accommodated at an expanded reception centre at Kiryondongo. After being registered, the new arrivals received UNHCR plastic sheeting, an emergency food ration and a 20 x 15-metre plot per family to build their own temporary shelter. UNHCR also distributed blankets and jerry cans. Additional latrines were also dug, new water pumps installed and a new emergency clinic was set up.

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