20 September 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: UN Agency Seeks Additional U.S.$21 Million to Assist Congolese Refugees in Uganda

The United Nations refugee agency said today it is seeking an extra $21.4 million to assist civilians who have fled the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and are taking refuge in neighbouring Uganda.

The amount covers needs until the end of the year and has been revised to reflect the influx into Uganda's Bundibugyo district of tens of thousands of refugees from the Kamango area of DRC's North Kivu province since July, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

It is part of the total $43.7 million UNHCR is seeking to help Congolese refugees who have arrived in Uganda to escape violence in North Kivu province since early 2012. The larger appeal is only 28 per cent funded so far.

According to the agency, the recent influx from North Kivu to Bundibugyo began in July when a little-known Ugandan rebel group active in the DRC, the Allied Democratic Forces, attacked the town of Kamango and fought with Congolese Government troops, triggering waves of displacement.

"The situation is currently more or less stabilized, but about 100 people a day are still crossing the border into this mountainous, harsh but densely populated region," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.

Further south, near Goma, continuing clashes between armed groups and the Congolese army, backed by the UN intervention brigade, as well as fighting among the different militias and general lawlessness also continues to push people into Uganda.

The funds are vital for, among other priorities, providing health, water, sanitation and education services, as well as shelter materials, farming packs and household items.

There are currently an estimated 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in DRC, while more than 290,000 refugees have fled the country since the start of last year, UNHCR said. In Uganda, more than 170,000 have been assisted in three districts.

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