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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid