Democratic Republic of the Congo UNHCR Operational Update, 1 – 31 August 2019

Since 18 August, thousands of Congolese refugees left Angola to come back to DRC. A Tripartite Agreement was subsequently signed on 23-24 August between UNHCR and the Angola and DRC Governments, to start an organized Voluntary Repatriations movement.

In Kasenyi, Ituri Province, UNHCR and partner CARITAS continued the construction of collective hangars to respond to the arrival of some 4,300 IDPs. So far, 21 hangars are occupied by 252 households. In addition, 333 individual shelters were finalized.

A total of 268 new Burundian asylum-seekers arrived in three transit centers in South Kivu Province in August. This brought the total number of Burundian asylumseekers to 1,507. As a result, infrastructures are overwhelmed, as well as water and sanitation facilities.

Refugees

Burundian refugees

Total in DRC 45,441

As of 31 August 2019

Following the first voluntary repatriation of 88 Burundian refugees in July, UNHCR organized Focus Group Discussions, a survey and interviews with 526 Burundian refugees living in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement on their intentions of return. The findings are underway.

Meanwhile, 268 new Burundian asylum seekers arrived in the three transit centers in August. This brought the total number of Burundian asylum seekers to 1,507. As a result, infrastructures are overwhelmed, as well as water and sanitation facilities. The Kavimvira Transit Center (TC) has a capacity of 700, for 730 currently there, while the Sange TC has a capacity of 400 persons for 578 currently there.

In response to the recent cholera outbreak in South Kivu Province, UNHCR and its operational partners have put in place precautionary measures at Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement. Water and handwashing points were reinforced, health care partners were trained on cholera management, and awareness-raising was conducted for refugees and the local population. UNHCR set up four oral rehydration points (ORP) in Lusenda and Mulongwe, and rehabilitated the Lusenda Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU). Chlorinated handwashing points and awareness-raising also serve the purpose of helping to prevent Ebola. UNHCR staff and health partners were briefed on Ebola prevention by UNHCR’s Medical Coordinator. However, due to lack of funds and staff on the ground, there are still not enough handwashing points, and not all beneficiaries were reached by awareness-raising activities.

In Mulongwe settlement, UNHCR and partners CNR, AIRD, and AIDES allocated 92 plots of land to 144 households who arrived in June. In addition, some 927 households received mobile money transfers, enabling them to construct their own houses and latrines.

Preventive measures were taken against measles; routine vaccinations were reinforced, and community workers and care providers were briefed on standard universal precautions. According to WHO, over 3,000 children died of measles in DRC between January and August.

In an ongoing effort to prevent SGBV amongst refugees, UNHCR-supported SGBV subcommittees organized several awareness-raising sessions in Lusenda camp and Mulongwe settlement, focusing on the prevention of rape, forced marriage, denial of resources and physical violence. A total of 731 persons participated, including men, women, girls and boys.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees