IOM, supported by UN CERF, responds to influx of Congolese refugees into Uganda
March 11, 2018
Since 01 January 2018, more than 46,000 Congolese have fled to Uganda, escaping ethnic clashes in their homeland. The scale of this crisis can be seen in the fact by comparison, for the whole of 2017, the number of new Congolese refugees that crossed into Uganda was 43,908.
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is one of the organizations responding to the emergency.
Between late February and early March, IOM Uganda Chief of Mission Ali Abdi was on the ground in Hoima district to meet staff, partners and beneficiaries. Mr Abdi hailed the partner efforts, and pledged IOM’s full commitment to the refugee response.
Backed by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), IOM is to support households and institutions to build latrines and other sanitation facilities, and to promote hygiene.
The national officer for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Mr Peter Nzabanita, said IOM is also distributing non-food items such as sanitary pads and jerrycans.
In addition, IOM is supporting efforts by the Uganda Police Marine unit and Office of the Prime Minister to rescue refugees stranded on Lake Albert or in isolated Ugandan villages where their risky canoes land.
In meetings, partners emphasized the urgency of the situation, given that so many refugees have been pouring into Uganda in a very short period.
“If you have been having difficulties looking after your one child and then you give birth to triplets, you must tighten your belt and double your efforts to be able to sustain them,” said Ms Jolly Kebirungi, the commandant of the Kyangwali settlement.
Because of the latest influx, the population of Kyangwali settlement has nearly doubled, from just over 35,000 to more than 66,000 refugees.
Ms Kebirungi said the Sebagoro landing site was recently so packed with desperate refugees, that one could not throw a stone in any direction without hitting a human being.