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Coronavirus – Africa : Democratic Republic of the Congo UNHCR Operational Update, June 2020

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, UNHCR DRC is producing a condensed monthly Operational Update. Specific information about UNHCR’s response to COVID-19 in DRC can be found here.

Refugees

PROTECTION

■ At least 3,000 Congolese crossed the Ubangui river from Buda town in Bosololo Territory, Nord Ubangi Province, seeking protection and shelter in the village of Toko Kota, in the Central African Republic, despite borders being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. As per the reports, they fled following violence by security forces over a dispute with local authorities over the equipment intended for the locality’s health centre. From 7 to 12 June, UNHCR organized a joint mission with Government partner Commission Nationale pour les Réfugiés (CNR) to Buda. The security situation remains calm and UNHCR is planning for awarenessraising sessions with the refugees about a possible return.

■ Heavy floods which occurred in April have further affected a weak road network across South Kivu Province. This hampers the relocation of over 1,400 Burundian refugees from overcrowded transit centres in Uvira. UNHCR and partners are looking at an alternative way of relocating refugees, for example by boat across the Tanganyika lake, to Mulongwe settlement.

■ The security situation continues to be volatile around Ingbokolo in Aru territory, Ituri Province. The border between the Ituri Province and South Sudan remains porous due to the insufficient presence of the Congolese police and armed forces, creating opportunities for armed groups to enter, putting populations, both refugees and the host community at great risk.

SHELTER AND CORE RELIEF ITEMS (CRIs)

■ UNHCR provided 60 refugee families from the Central African Republic with cash to buy materials to build transitional shelters in Bili camp, Nord Ubangi Province. 20 additional refugee families will benefit from this assistance to improve their shelter conditions.

■ UNHCR distributed dignity kits – containing hygiene supplies – to over 9,000 women and girls of reproductive age in Lusenda and Mulongwe settlements, South Kivu Province. The distribution of kit provides an opportunity to meet and speak to women and girls, share information, and better understand their concerns.

EDUCATION

■ Over 600 refugee students from the Central African Republic who are taking the end of primary school exam this year benefited from special home-based education lessons organized by UNHCR’s partner Association pour le Développement Social et la Sauvegarde de l'Environnement (ADSSE). The activity took place in Inke, Bili, Mole and Boyabu refugee camps located in North and South Ubangi Provinces and included a maximum of six students per session to respect physical distancing measures.

LIVELIHOODS AND FOOD SECURITY

■ UNHCR and partners the World Food Programme (WFP) and Action et Intervention pour le Développement Social (AIDES) started distributing mobile phones and SIM cards to over 8,000 Burundian refugees at Mulongwe settlement in South Kivu Province. It will allow them to receive cash for food assistance via electronic payments.

■ UNHCR and partner AIDES distributed over 50,000 kg of biomass briquettes at Lusenda and Mulongwe settlements, South Kivu Province. Biomass briquettes are produced by refugees and locals and provide an environmentally friendly alternative to firewood and charcoal for cooking.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


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