Congolese crisis a regional refugee emergency


DRC refugee crisis. Photo by UNHCR

from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
DRC Bureau
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – HUNDREDS of Congolese fleeing their country daily have triggered a refugee crisis in neighbouring countries, where they have sought safety.

Between 600 and 800 nationals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have crossed the eastern border to Tanzania each day between March 8 and 20.

They are fleeing clashes between the March 23 Movement (M23) and the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) in the Kivu region.

“More are projected to cross, increasing an already unserviceable level of needs in food, WASH, shelter and healthcare,” said a humanitarian spokesperson.

WASH is acronym for water, sanitation and hygiene.

Meanwhile, the Nkamira transit centre in Rwanda has welcomed over 5 800 new asylum seekers from DRC between November 2022 and the end of March 2023.

A majority, 99 percent, of arrivals originate from North Kivu, specifically Masisi and Rutshuru, where violent clashes are reported on a daily basis.

Elsewhere, in Burundi, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced last week that food aid rations for refugees, mostly Congolese fleeing violence in eastern DRC, would be halved from April 1 due to insufficient funding.

“The ration cut will worsen food insecurity and could further exacerbate tensions between host and refugee communities around the camps and transit centres,” the WFP stated.

There were 1,1 million refugees and asylum seekers from the DRC across Africa, mostly in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, at the end of February.

DRC is synonymous with conflict since attainment of independence in 1960.

It is one of the world’s most severe refugee crises.

Its conflict is linked to its being arguably the country most endowed with natural resources in the world.

A majority of the population of 97 million wallows in poverty.

– CAJ News



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