UNHCR overwhelmed with refugees fleeing DR Congo

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With resources drying up and the continued influx of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the situation could snowball into a humanitarian crisis, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Friday.

The refugees are running away from attacks by the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the country’s east.

Speaking to reporters in the capital Kampala, UNHCR representative in Uganda, Joel Boutroue, said that the organization needs funds for both food and nonfood items to respond to the current influx of refugees that he estimates to be around 3,000.

He said that many more Congolese refugees are still coming to Bundibugyo from Congo.

Boutroue said that the most serious challenge is that refugee settlements are now full and that could complicate the situation.

“As far as we know there are thousands of people on the streets of Bundibugyo. So far, around 1,300 have been registered to be taken to the settlement camp of Bukwangu. But we see the problem of the settlement getting to capacity,” said Boutroue.

In a statement on Friday, Uganda Red Cross spokesperson, Irene Nakasita, said the Red Cross is working alongside district leadership to support the influx of Congolese refugees.

“People are still coming in and our volunteers are supporting them,” said Nakasita.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group, which originated in neighboring Uganda in the 1990s, has been attacking and killing civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for over two decades.

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