Bundibugyo Struggles To Contain Congolese Refugees

Congolese refugees in Bundibugyo district, western Uganda

The humanitarian crisis in Bundibugyo district continues to worry security, district and humanitarian officials as more refugees continue to enter the district.
Although the office of the prime Minister says that it has so far registered 23,000 refugees fleeing fighting, more refugees are expected in the district.

Jolly Tibamanya, the LC5 Chairperson Bundibugyo district, says that this is the highest number of refugees that have entered the district. Tibamanya says that the district doesn’t have any funds to cater for the refugees.

Nisiima Rwamijuma, the UPDF spokesperson Ruwenzori region, told the media at Busunga Border Post that there are over 30,000 refugees who could have entered the district since yesterday.  Nisiima says that there isn’t a correct figure because of several entry points where the refugees are using to enter into Bundibugyo district.  The entry points are Kasiri, Bundibugoma and Butungo, all in Nyahuka Sub County.

Two refugee camps have been set up at Bubandi Primary School and Busolu Primary School in Nyahuka Sub County.

At the main camp at Bubandi Primary School, the compound is filled with many children crying as their mothers look on. All the seven classroom blocks and offices are also filled to capacity. The refugees have also sought refugee at Bubandi Catholic Church compound.

The LC3 chairperson, Bubandi Sub County, Joram Byamaka says that they are overwhelmed by the number of the refuges. He says that they are planning to transfer some of the refugees to Bubandi Sub county headquarters, Busalu, Kalera and Bulira Primary Schools.

Byamaka also says that the district has no funds to purchase food for the refugees. He says that they are yet to receive relief assistance from the Office of the Prime Minister. Byamaka also says that there is worry that there could be an outbreak of diseases, because of the poor sanitation.

Catherine Ntabadde Makumbi, the Head of Communications Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), says that URCS has registered 18, 450 Congolese refugees, 41 of which are minors who crossed without their families.

She also says that 50 Red Cross Action team volunteers have been deployed to support the operations and an additional 50 Red Cross volunteers are on standby.

The URCS Secretary General Michael Richard Nataka says that URCS may need about sh2.5b to address the immediate needs for the refugees. According to Nakata, URCS has so far dispatched 300 essential household kits, 300 family tents, 10 first aid kits, stretchers and first aid replenishment materials.

Faith Mbambu, a Congolese from town says that more than twenty armed men stormed Kamango village and started shooting indiscriminately. She says that she fled with her six children leaving behind her property.

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