News / Africa

New Violence Forces Tens of Thousands to Flee North Kivu

Refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wait at the Busunga border in western Uganda, July 13, 2013.Refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wait at the Busunga border in western Uganda, July 13, 2013.
x
Refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wait at the Busunga border in western Uganda, July 13, 2013.
Refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wait at the Busunga border in western Uganda, July 13, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, fears for the welfare of tens of thousands of refugees who have fled new violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu region. 

They have moved to western Uganda’s Bundibugyo district and are spread out along the hilly border areas where conditions are tough and access is difficult. 

Mohammed Ader, a UNHCR spokesperson for Uganda, said refugees from North Kivu have been arriving for the past 18 months.  But, he said the new influx of people into the border region which began on July 11 is an entirely new situation in the Bundibugyo area.

“The displacement is largely the result of a Uganda rebel force fighting the government itself.  So in the last five days, over 6,000 refugees were registered on the border area.  Most of them are women and children.  They left in a hurry and carry very little with them,” said Ader, who explained that the families are living in schools, churches, public buildings, and even out in the open.

He said this dangerous situation has prompted the UNHCR to begin transporting people to one of their transit centers. But,  Adler said it’s a difficult process.

“There was initially reluctance from the people to move.  They left homes standing, and this is the harvest season in that part of the country, and they were reluctant to go far because they hoped that the fighting would die down and they would be able to go back home,” said Ader.  He added there actually has been quite a lot of movement back and forth from their homes. 

“People going back in the morning, picking up things from their farms and homes, and coming back to Uganda in the afternoon to spend the night in the safety of Uganda.  But now, gradually I think they are deciding now to go to the transit center.  Since yesterday, I think we moved about 3,000 people, and I understand we expect that number to reach 10,000, I think in the next  24 hours,” added Ader.

In addition to security concerns, there is also the possibility of an outbreak of diseases.  Ader said the refugees are coming from an area that had endemic cholera, and with large populations of people living together there is the possibility of the disease spreading.  It’s all the more reason, he said, why it is so important to move people out of the border areas -- which are not meant to house people for any length of time, and into the transit centers.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More