DRC refugee crisis

On March 23, 2013, Seleke rebel forces in Central African Republic (CAR) overthrew the government, sending thousands of people fleeing to safety in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

An estimated 40,000 refugees have since settled in DRC, many of them on the banks of the Ubangi river which borders CAR. Some live with host families while others have moved to a camp established by UNHCR.

Living conditions for those living along the river are dire. People have the bare minimum as far as basic household items, access to clean water, access to health, food and sanitation facilities. They are using the river water for drinking, bathing and cooking, however it is not treated and many people are suffering from diarrhoea. This population does not want to move away from the river, however, as it is close to their homeland and allows them opportunities to fish. Host families, already pressed for resources, are being stretched further.

Unaccompanied children, separated from their parents during the flight to safety, are also part of the refugee population. 

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an emergency appeal seeking 1,122,910 Swiss francs to support the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in assisting 15,000 people for six months.

Interventions are focusing on the provision of non-food items, emergency shelter, water, sanitation and health care services to refugees. The society will also focus on restoring family links for those who have become separated while escaping the conflict.

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