Congolese refugees in Bundibugyo district, western Uganda

United Nations High Commission for Refugees – UNHCR is seeking US $ 15 million for sustaining more than 270,000 refugees in Uganda.

Congolese refugees in Bundibugyo
Congolese refugees in Bundibugyo

Mohammed Adar, the UNHRC country representative says that they are shot on all things including food needed to sustain the lives of refugees. UNHCR, Uganda Red Cross- URC, UNICEF, WFP and the Office of the Prime Minister and the Lutheran World Federation are currently struggling to sustain hundreds of refugees especially after last week’s influx of 66,000 Congolese refugees in just four days to Bundibugyo.

This is the largest number of refugees to ever enter Uganda in such a short time. In an interview with local media, Mohammed Adar was pessimistic that refugees in Uganda would be given priority especially when the entire world is focused on Syria.

Disaster Preparedness  Minister Hilary Onek
Disaster Preparedness Minister Hilary Onek

Mohammed Adar explained that all the food stock they had, had been re-allocated to feed the huge number of Congolese refugees now at five different locations. They fled fighting in DRC’s Kamango town and pitched camp at Kalera primary school, Kisalu primary school, Butogota border area, Isonga primary school and Budandi sub-county headquarters.

Different aid agencies have dispatched basic necessities to the refugees including food and non food items like tents, medicines. Adar however notes that, there is enough food to sustain the refugees until December.

On Tuesday, Hilary Onek, the minister for Disaster preparedness said the refugee numbers had surged to 66,000. He explained that the refugees sleep on verandas, in classrooms, churches and resident’s homes. Accompanied by the Commissioner for Refugees Apollo David Kazungu, Onek said there were limited facilities at the primary school.

Government is moving the refugees to a safer transit centre away from the border at Bukukwanga sub-county headquarters.

Humanitarian agencies still hope that the refugees would return home to harvest their crops failure of which they would be moved to the spacious Kyangwali refugee camp in Hoima district in three weeks. Government has at the moment put a halt to the repatriation of Congolese refugees back to DR Congo.

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