11,000 people flee to Uganda from Democratic Republic of Congo

Dwellings on a hill in DRCongo Dwellings on a hill in DRCongo Kudra Abdulaziz on Pixabay

9 November 2021

11,000 people have fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda as the army enters new clashes with insurgents in the country’s north-east

In the north-eastern region of Kivu, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faces an upsurge of violence. On Sunday, 7 November 2021, insurgents attacked army positions in Kivu, forcing 11,000 civilians to flee to Uganda, the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has stated. A group of activists said that because of the extent of the violence, which saw the use of both light and heavy weapons, civilians have had to seek refuge. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that around 8,000 passed into Uganda through the border town of Bunagana, while another 3,000 crossed the border at Kibaya. Both locations are 500km south-west of Kampala, the Ugandan capital city. 

UNHCR and Uganda are coordinating the response on the ground to this new refugee influx. The Ugandan government has implemented a humanitarian exception and opened its borders, which are currently otherwise closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Food Programme and other civil society organisations including Care and Assistance for Forced Migrants, Medical Teams International, Save the Children, the Ugandan Red Cross, and the International Rescue Committee are supporting operations. Refugees are being hosted at the Nyakabande transit centre, where they are screened for Covid-19, identified, registered, and supplied with a shelter, blankets, food, and water. 

Uganda already hosts 1.5 million refugees, more than any other African country. These new arrivals represent a challenge for the Ugandan government. Indeed, Shabia Mantoo, the UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva, stated that it has been more than a year since Uganda experienced an influx of refugees this large in a single day. Mantoo expressed her concern that local capacity and services might soon be overwhelmed and she stressed that new resources and funds are urgently needed to adequately face the emergency.


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Author: Lorena Bisignano; Editor: Alexander Collin



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