New arrivals from the CAR capital, Bangui, are currently being registered by DRC authorities in the nearby Congolese city of Zongo. The majority will move to the refugee camp of Mole close-by. Refugees said they had difficulties to flee Bangui because of barricades erected in the city.
The refugees said they fled to escape fighting between Seleka rebels and anti-Balaka militants. Some of the new arrivals say that their houses have been burnt down. The overall number of registered Central African refugees in DRC stands well above 100,000.
Since the end of September, new tensions have escalated in the CAR capital city of Bangui where widespread shooting has been reported. The situation has prompted evacuation of various humanitarian organisations working there.
The highly volatile situation in the country, and particularly the violence in Bangui, could result in a further increase in numbers of refugees moving into DRC in coming days.
Since the beginning of the crisis in March 2013, more than 65,000 CAR refugees have relocated to four different camps - Boyabu, Mole, Inke and Bili - in DRC’s impoverished provinces of North and South Ubangi, while others live with host families. The refugees’ survival relies largely on humanitarian assistance.
Meanwhile, two United Nations agencies have expressed concerns about the lack of funds to support the refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) lacks funding for the provisions of shelters for these refugees, as well as for their health and educational needs. In 2015, UNHCR has received only 6 percent of the US $57 million it needs for these operations that includes the relocation of new arrivals to camps, the construction of shelters and distribution of aid items. Shelter conditions have deteriorated. The situation has become worse when in mid-September a tornado destroyed nearly half of all shelters in the camp of Mole.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is facing a US$1 million shortfall for its emergency food assistance operation to assist the CAR refugees in DRC. It is grateful for a contribution of 1.5 million euros granted by the German government in September to cover urgent food assistance needs. However, if no new contributions are confirmed, WFP’s life-saving activities for the refugees will be severely compromised at the end of November. This could have a destabilizing effect in the volatile border area of the DRC where refugees live.
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