Democratic Republic of the Congo UNHCR Mid-Month Update (1 – 15 February 2019)

This document provides a mid-month update on major developments between the publication of UNHCR’s monthly Operational Updates.

Refugees

Following an influx of South Sudanese refugees in the Chefferie des Kakwa, Aru Territory, Ituri Province, UNHCR undertook monitoring missions at border areas and prepared for their relocation to Biringi settlement, Aru Territory. By mid-February, the influx had slowed down significantly and in the second half of the month, UNHCR begun relocations. 397 persons (165 households) were transferred to Biringi settlement between 16 and 22 February, and demand for relocation had declined by the end of the month.

Arrivals of Central African refugees slowed down compared to January. 30 crossed into Ndu, Bas Uele Province, DRC, from the Central African Republic, in addition to 235 who crossed in January, according to migration authorities. 65 were awaiting pre-registration, while the remaining 200 already held refugee status from a previous displacement. UNHCR planned on distributing non-food items (NFIs) to the most vulnerable.

In view of Ebola cases in Ituri Province, which hosts South Sudanese refugees, UNHCR and implementing partner ADES further strengthened Ebola monitoring and sensitization in all refugee-hosting health zones.

UNHCR’s partner ADSSE distributed 648 packs of MakaPad sanitary pads to 312 Central African refugee pupils in Inke camp, as well as 22 local pupils. Sessions will also be held every month by UNHCR’s partner ADSSE, on the use of sanitary pads and on good menstrual hygiene.

Two football fields, two basketball fields and a dancing area were finalised in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement to benefit both Burundian refugees and local youth as part of UNHCR’s Sports for Protection project, funded by the International Olympic Committee.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

Influxes of Congolese people from Angola continued. In Kamako, Kasai Province, the migration authorities (DGM) recorded 2,750 returns (both expulsions and voluntary returns) from 1 to 11 February, bringing to 8,085 the estimated total of returns from Angola in 2019. UNHCR prepared for the resumption of profiling activities by meeting a dozen of documented Congolese refugees who returned between 11 and 14 February. They provided information on the circumstance of their returns, including spontaneous ones.

On the shores of Lake Albert in Djugu Territory, Ituri Province, 4,734 people (928 households) were displaced, while outside coastal areas, stabilisation led to the return of an estimated 11,090 people from various localities, according to UNHCR’s partners INTERSOS and Caritas.

UNHCR’s cash assistance for IDPs, returnees and refugees in DRC grew considerably in 2018, with USD 3.4 million spent according to a new UNHCR report. This is a 261% increase from 2017 and an 882% increase from 2016.

From 4 to 6 February, UNHCR provided multipurpose cash assistance to 1,055 formerly displaced households who returned to their villages near Kalemie, Tanganyika Province. This cash assistance complemented a UNHCR shelter project for returnees to rebuild houses using local construction methods.

In Ituri Province, UNHCR’s partner the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) distributed dignity kits to 10,500 women and girls, $30 cash vouchers for 4,899 people to buy Non-Food Items (NFI) at a fair organized by DRC, and shelter construction kits to 2,943 people. All beneficiaries were returned or displaced people.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees