UNHCR: harsh living conditions for thousands of Central African refugees

 Two schoolboys smiling Two schoolboys smiling Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

02 March 2021

The United Nations  Refugee Agency (UNHCR) delegate Boris Cheshirkov spoke about Central african refugees

Following the violence erupted in December 2020, authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) estimated that 92,000 refugees have arrived in the region from the Central African Republic (CAR). Most of the Central African refugees proceeded to settle along the riverbanks in border areas that are difficult to reach and have  extremely limited resources. The conditions these people find themselves in are miserable, with many refugees sleeping in makeshift shelters and  the majority have no or limited  access to basic services like water, sanitation, or food. In addition to the need for basic services, the need for adequate medical care and vaccines is increasing: UNHCR reports less than 30% of refugee children are vaccinated, meanwhile also COVID-19 continues to spread. 

In order to alleviate the unsustainable situation, UNHCR and DRC’s National Refugee Commission (CNR) have signed agreements and  began developing a camp for 10,000 refugees in Modale village, in North Ubangi province. At the Modale camp , UNHCR is setting up new water and sanitation facilities and is planning to expand health and education infrastructures. A second camp near Ndu in Bas Uele province is in the planning stage and awaits  government approval. However two additional camps still need to be found, since there’s a considerable amount of refugees that would need to be relocated anyway.

The UNHCR and CNRs plan foresees  four relocation sites for some 35,000 refugees who will be able to live alongside local communities and grow their own crops, attend local schools, and benefit from other services that are already available to their Congolese hosts. 

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