Thousands flee insecurity in the Central African Republic

A group of Central African refugees in Ndu, in DRC Bas Uele province. Several thousands of refugees have fled Central African Republic for the North of the Democratic Republic of Congo since May 2017.  © UNHCR/Simon Lubuku

KINSHASA – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is concerned about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers from the Central African Republic (CAR) into remote areas of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where very few humanitarian actors are present.

The latest major population movement was reported by authorities in the town of Yakoma in DRC’s northern province of Nord-Ubangi, where over 10,000 people have arrived since last week. They fled insecurity in the area around Bema in CAR, to the nearby Congolese town of Yakoma.

The influx from CAR continues also in other border areas in the Congo, many of which are difficult to access due to the lack of roads. The new arrivals add to some 65,000 asylum seekers who arrived in DR Congo since mid-May 2017 and 103,000 registered refugees, who have come to DRC since the beginning of the crisis in CAR in 2013.

In order to respond to the worsening humanitarian situation in the arrival areas, UNHCR has distributed essential household items to 9,754 persons in Yakoma, Limasa and Satema in DRC’s northern Nord-Ubangi province between 5 and 8 August. They received buckets, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen sets. UNHCR is currently shipping more relief items to the area. Since the new arrivals stay with local families, it will also support the host communities, which struggle to access drinking water and medical services.

DRC’s asylum body, the National Commission for Refugees, is meanwhile registering the asylum seekers who arrived over the past months.

So far, UNHCR has received 7 % of the 55.3 million US dollars it needs to assist the Central African refugees in DRC. Among its major donors for the response to the CAR crisis in DRC are the European Union, Japan, and the United States of America.

 

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