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DRC refugees in Uganda face humanitarian crisis

05-19-2012 03:12 BJT

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Humanitarian agencies in Uganda have warned of a looming health crisis, as more Congolese refugees continue to flock into Uganda. Following an influx of over 30,000 refugees, authorities are now challenged with maintaining proper sanitation in the area. Some refugees are still reluctant to enter the camps. Isabel Nakirya reports.

As battles continue between government forces and rebels loyal to Bosco Ntaganda in the volatile regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, its Western neighbor Uganda continues to receive more fleeing refugees. Here at the Bunagana border in the Western Ugandan district of Kisoro refugees crisscross the border point between Uganda and the D.R.C. But here, where refugees first camped before their relocation, sanitation is in a sorry state.

A newly arrived refugee child from the Democratic Republic of Congo plays at a
makeshift refugee camp at Bunagana near Kisoro town 521km (312 miles) southwest
of Uganda capital Kampala, May 15, 2012.

The government of Uganda tells CCTV that many of the refugees have been told to relocate to the transit camp. Some have reluctantly continued to stay.
Esau Bayikayo, Ugandan Government Official, said, "We are encouraging everybody to leave that place. They are too many defecating everywhere. There were no toilets (so we looked at it) it was going to cause a health threat"
Humanitarian agencies are advising refugees to register and stay in the camps for proper management. They want to reduce the risks of spreading disease through poor sanitation.

Johnson Kyomukama, Ugandan Red Cross Society, said, "Everybody should come where services are and while they are here we can give them better attention."

According to the Ugandan government, over 3,500 refugees have so far been registered here at Nyakabande transit centre located about 10km from the border. Over 10,000 refugees have reportedly fled into Rwanda and Uganda since the last round of fighting about a week ago. Rebel leader Ntaganda is wanted by the International criminal court accused of war crimes. More are expected to flee their homes as instability in DRC continues to threaten their livelihood.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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