Congo's refugee crisis

Dangerous waters… Soldiers and armed groups active on the Ubangui river are hampering efforts to help DRC refugees sheltering in Congo
NAIROBI, 23 March 2010 (IRIN) - Their government has urged them to come home. But despite dire living conditions on the other side of the Ubangui River, 114,000 people who have fled fighting in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Equateur province since October 2009 have no plans to return soon.

The UN Refugee Agency agrees it is unsafe to do so now. The wider humanitarian community reckons they will stay in Republic of Congo for the rest of this year at least and has appealed for US$60m to meet their most rudimentary needs. These are legion. Likouala province, where the refugees live in about 100 settlements dotted along the river, lacks basic services to provide even for its own residents, let alone for an influx that has more than doubled the local population. Food, water, health, sanitation, shelter, education and protection are just some of the areas of grave concern. This series of articles examines the causes and consequences of the crisis and explains the challenges of the humanitarian response.


DRC-CONGO: Return delayed for 120,000 refugeess

BRAZZAVILLE/KINSHASA, 13 May 2011 (IRIN) - Eighteen months after fleeing across the riverine border separating the two Congos, some 120,000 refugees seem to have little prospect of returning home soon. full report

DRC-CONGO: Security improves for DRC refugees

MOMBENZÉLÉ, 2 June 2010 (IRIN) - Humanitarian access in Impfondo, in the northern Likouala region of the Republic of Congo (ROC), has improved following the reinforcement of security, say officials. full report

Insecurity hampers relief, prevents return of refugees

IMPFONDO, 23 March 2010 (IRIN) - Most fled the fighting with little more than the clothes on their backs. Now, insecurity and poor access are hampering efforts to address the most basic needs of more than 114,000 refugees in northern Republic of Congo. full report

School among the snakes

IMPFONDO, 23 March 2010 (IRIN) - For refugee children from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the classroom is a forest clearing near the village of Gangania, a few kilometres from Impfondo, capital of Likouala Province, in the extreme north of the Republic of Congo. full report
Related Reports

Of fish wars and displacement

KINSHASA, 2 February 2010 (IRIN) - Rival ethnic communities in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo have clashed many times over the years, but most recently over fish, observers say. full report

Parents keep children at home amid security fears

KINSHASA, 10 February 2010 (IRIN) - Schools in Dongo, Equateur Province, in western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the scene of inter-ethnic clashes from October to December 2009, are still closed because parents are worried about security, despite a call for their reopening by the provincial government. full report

Refugees not ready to return from CAR

ZINGA, 15 January 2010 (IRIN) -  Assurances from authorities in Kinshasa that peace had been restored to their home areas in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo carry little weight with thousands of refugees across the Ubangi River in the Central African Republic (CAR): they are in no hurry to return home. full report