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Number of Congolese in Rwanda transit camp passes 10,000

News Stories, 8 June 2012

© UNHCR/S.Modola
Congolese arrivals at the Nkamira transit centre in Rwanda.

NKAMIRA TRANSIT CAMP, June 8 (UNHCR) Amid continuing instability and bursts of fighting in eastern Congo, civilians keep crossing into Rwanda where the number of arrivals since late April has passed 10,000 and south-west Uganda.

The 10,000 figure was reached last weekend and the number of Congolese refugees registered at the crowded Nkamira Transit Camp had risen to 11,339 by Monday. In recent days a daily average of about 230 arrivals have been recorded at Nkamira, which lies some 20 kilometres from the Goma-Gisenyi crossing with Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province. Nobody has registered to return to North Kivu since the beginning of June.

Fighting between government troops and renegade soldiers in North Kivu since April has left more than 100,000 people displaced, including the thousands who have fled to Rwanda and to Uganda's Kisoro district.

UNHCR's priorities in Rwanda are to provide adequate health care and shelter for people at the congested Nkamira camp. Last week, eight cases of cholera were detected among the Congolese refugees. The small outbreak was contained, but it highlighted the problems that UNHCR, the government and other partners face in dealing with the influx.

To address the problem of shelter and congestion at Nkamira, the government has identified a new site for a refugee camp at Kigeme in the south of Rwanda. A first convoy is expected to transport about 500 refugees from Nkamira to the new site on Sunday, with UNHCR support.

An initial 2,500 refugees can be accommodated in nearly 600 tents that will be set up at Kigeme. Temporary water and sanitation facilities will be established by UNHCR and its partners ahead of the arrival of the first refugees.

The government of Rwanda and UNHCR have arranged for those needing medical care to be treated at the district hospital and a local dispensary. Refugee children will be able to attend schools run by the local diocese.

Meanwhile, Congolese villagers continue to cross into Uganda's Kisoro district to escape stop-start fighting in North Kivu. UNHCR field staff in Uganda said that following the latest fighting on Monday, a total of 1,422 people had fled across the border at Bunagana and been registered as of Thursday by the refugee agency at the Nyakabande transit centre. The fighting in Rutshuru territory had since died down.

Sakura Atsumi, UNHCR's deputy representative in Uganda, said many of the new arrivals had been already internally displaced in North Kivu and were living in a primary school some five kms from the border. But because of the fighting they decided to head for Uganda.

She said that since the start of the year, UNHCR had registered 21,448 Congolese refugees at the Nyakabande centre, a site where they receive shelter and assistance some 20kms from the border.

The worst month was May, when 12,977 people fled into Uganda to escape waves of fighting and were assisted at Nyakabande. "They're still in relatively decent condition. Malnutrition has not been a problem," Atsumi said of those crossing the border. The transit centre has a capacity for 6,500 refugees and there are currently 5,100 there.

Most of the people arriving at Nyakabande have been taken to refugee settlements deep inside Uganda. Almost 10,000 have been transported by UNHCR to the Rwamwanja settlement, which was opened in April and is located some 370kms to the north of Nyakabande.




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

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Fighting rages on in various parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with seemingly no end in sight for hundreds of thousands of Congolese forced to flee violence and instability over the past two years. The ebb and flow of conflict has left many people constantly on the move, while many families have been separated. At least 1 million people are displaced in North Kivu, the hardest hit province. After years of conflict, more than 1,000 people still die every day - mostly of hunger and treatable diseases. In some areas, two out of three women have been raped. Abductions persist and children are forcefully recruited to fight. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases have increased as the situation deteriorates and humanitarian agencies struggle to respond to the needs of the displaced.

When the displacement crisis worsened in North Kivu in 2007, the UN refugee agency sent emergency teams to the area and set up operations in several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Assistance efforts have also included registering displaced people and distributing non-food aid. UNHCR carries out protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs in North and South Kivu.

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

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