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UNHCR Appeals for More Funding for Displaced in DRC

Displaced people from the town of Sake gather at the Mugunga camp on the road to Goma, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow.VOA)
The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is appealing for an additional 69.6-million dollars. It’s to help it continue providing assistance to the thousands of displaced people in the Great Lakes region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The agency says the money is vital for providing basic needs for an estimated 453,000 Congolese civilians. They include 5,600 refugees in Burundi, 23,000 in Rwanda and 35,000 in Uganda. In addition, the UNHCR anticipates more displaced people and more refugees as instability continues in North and South Kivu provinces.

“The bulk of the funding will go to the internally displaced in eastern Congo, and the refugees in Uganda,” explained Leo Dobbs, the UNHCR’s public information officer in Geneva. “The big needs are registration of refugees and IDP’s, and also shelter is very important; increased protection monitoring; the ability to improve facilities in camps and sites,”

Dobbs said in Burundi, which has not been a part of earlier appeals, the UNHCR will be constructing a new refugee camp for 10,000 people. Many of the current sites are in need of repair, so this will be addressed as well.

Dobbs explained that shelter material is the biggest need right now.

“In this appeal in the eastern Congo and the provinces there, we are specifically asking to distribute 16,600 transitional shelters. And we’ve already started providing shelter material to people in places in North Kivu and areas near the provincial capital, Goma,” he said.

A minimum of 50,000 additional IDP’s are expected during this year. So part of the funding is for the anticipated displacement of people due to continued instability in the area.