By Spy Uganda.
DRC: Over one million people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) have been forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries since the beginning of 2020, according to a report by the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR.
The agency said that a total of 5 million people have so far been uprooted from DR Congo. According to the report, DR Congo has one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world..
The UNHCR said that it had recorded several events of killing, mutilation, sexual violence and looting in the country in the last eight weeks. “UNHCR and its partners have recorded multiple attacks by armed groups on displacement sites and villages”, said the report.
The agency urged the authorities in DR Congo to “improve the security situation and hold the perpetrators accountable”.
Brutal attacks, low funding
The UNHCR said that on June 17 and 18, five people in the Djugu Territory were beheaded with machetes and over 150 houses were set on fire by an armed group. On June 23, about 5,000 people were displaced from their homes in the North Kivu province due to fighting between two armed groups.
The agency said that medical care provisions were getting affected by the attacks. It added that most assaults were conducted by armed groups and, allegedly, by the security services of DR Congo.
The UNHCR appealed for more funding for its DR Congo operations in its report. The agency has received just 21% of the budget required for its operations in DR Congo.
On Wednesday, Uganda temporarily re-opened two border crossing points, through Guladjo and Mount Zeu in Zombo district, to provide a safe haven with access to life-saving aid and protection to those who remained.
“Some 1,500 asylum-seekers crossed into Uganda. The border will remain open until Friday once the humanitarian operation is complete and then close again until further notice” Agency said.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners, in coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister, the Health Ministry and the district local government said are working around the clock in Zombo district to strengthen reception capacities, including quarantine facilities, at the border and ensure adequate levels of emergency assistance are available.
According to UNHCR ,All new arrivals undergo security and health screening at the border.
The group is first quarantined at Zewdu Farm Institute, 13 kilometres from the border crossing, which can accommodate some 6,000 people. UNHCR say they have installed tents, health screening areas, toilets, hand washing facilities and water tanks.
Following the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days, in line with national guidelines and protocols, asylum-seekers are later transported to existing refugee settlements designated by the Government of Uganda.
With 1.4 million refugees, Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. The arrival of new asylum-seekers is happening at a time when the refugee response is facing multiple challenges due to under funding, including severe food ration cuts etc.