31 January 2018

Uganda: EU Offers $124,000 in Humanitarian Aid for Refugees

The European Commission has offered 100,000 euros (about $124,000) to help fund relief operations for thousands of refugees flowing into Uganda from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, thousands of Congolese are fleeing inter-communal violence in DRC's volatile Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

The latest numbers released by the agency show that Uganda is now hosting more than 242,000 refugees with 13,970 new arrivals in December alone.

"Renewed fighting and atrocities in DRC are driving thousands of Congolese from their homes. After the long journey, many of them arrive in the refugee settlement weakened and destitute. EU funding is being released to increase the safe water supply and improve sanitation, hygiene and health services. It is crucial that we provide dignified living conditions and prevent disease outbreaks," said Isabelle D'Haudt, the head of the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid in Uganda.

The EU emergency funding was given to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Wednesday to help the Ugandan unit to assist more than 6,000 newly arrived Congolese refugees from Djugu in Ituri province.

Many of the refugees are crossing Lake Albert on rickety fishing boats to take refuge in Uganda at costly fees that are reportedly imposed by armed groups on the Congolese side of the lake and forced recruitment of young men. Those unable to pay are forced to use longer routes.

The refugees are mostly women and children.

Red Cross will use the money to carry out hygiene promotion activities, distribute jerry cans and chlorine tables for water treatment and build 60 new latrines, 100 bathing shelters and 200 handwashing stands at the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement camp.

Old and new conflicts in DRC have driven an estimated 4.4 million Congolese from their homes. The vast majority, 3.9 million people, are internally displaced in DRC. The remaining half a million are refugees in neighbouring countries. It is the world's worst displacement crisis.

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