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ICC Note: Thousands of Central African Republic refugees have fled across the border into Northern DRC in less than a week. The UNHCR is having trouble dealing with this mass migration of people from one devastated area to another poor and overburdened area.

05/20/2018 CAR (UNHCR) – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed at new displacement in the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where 7,000 Central African Republic refugees have arrived in under a week into a situation of little help and desperate need.

The refugees, most of them women and children, are concentrated in the remote village of Kanzawi in DRC’s northern Bas-Uele Province. They fled violence in south-eastern Central African Republic.

The speed of arrivals and the very limited humanitarian presence in the area mean that people urgently need increased support.

Critically, UNHCR’s own capacity for an emergency response is severely stretched, with our DRC operation funded at US$1.6 for every US$10 needed.

The refugees have reported fleeing fighting between two Anti-Balaka groups in the area of Kouango, just across the border. It is the latest in a series of refugee movements into northern DRC. In less than a year, the number of CAR refugees in DRC has grown from around 102,000 to more than 182,000, not including the latest arrivals.

UNHCR is particularly worried about the situation of elderly people, pregnant women and others with specific needs. There is only one water source in Kanzawi village, forcing people to drink from the river. Most of the refugees are sleeping in the open, others in public buildings.

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