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DRC displacement update

Briefing notes

DRC displacement update

28 August 2009

The Ugandan rebel group, the so called 'Lord's Resistance Army' (LRA) continues to cause large scale destruction and displacement in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. At least, 125,000 people are known to have been driven out of their villages in Haut Uele district of Orientale Province by the LRA in the last three weeks alone.

A staggering 540,000 Congolese have been uprooted in the Orientale province by deadly LRA assaults since September 2008.

The rebel group is accused of widespread killings, kidnappings of civilians and raping of women. During the same period, the rebels have reportedly killed some 1,270 people and abducted 655 children in the Orientale province. They have also destroyed hundreds of homesteads and pillaged health centres, schools and other public buildings.

UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies have distributed aid kits consisting of blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and soap to 11,000 IDPs around the villages of Ngilima and Kapili, north-west of Dungu, the capital of Haut Uele district.

However, insecurity and impassable roads continue to hamper aid agencies' ability to access and assist the vast majority of the displaced. Moreover, as the number of IDPs increases, friction over the meagre resources has erupted between the displaced and host families who have been stretched to the limit. Some of the host families have been hosting the displaced since September last when the LRA started its attacks in Haute Uele.

The LRA has also forced an estimated 8,000 Congolese to flee to neighbouring South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR). Some 6,500 of these refugees are in the Western Equatoria region of South Sudan, where LRA attacks in Ezo forced UN staff to evacuate less than a fortnight ago.

In CAR, the Congolese refugees headed for Mboki and Obo in the eastern part of the country bordering both DRC and Sudan. This week, UNHCR dispatched a team from Bangui to Mboki to assess and assist the refugees and IDPs affected by the latest LRA raids inside the CAR. We have registered and provided assistance to 846 newly arrived Congolese refugees. A similar mission is underway in Obo. UNHCR has already provided refugees with three month food rations, aid items and agricultural tools in addition to the medical kits for the local health facility.