Above: The reception of soap at the port of Zongo from Bangui (CAR) for assistance to refugees in the NDU site.
Post-election violence has once again caused upheaval in the lives of tens of thousands of Central Africans who have been forced to escape to safety in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A process that in many countries presents hope as citizens elect their preferred leader, this period brings trepidation and despair instead in the Central African Republic. It has become almost predictable that violence will follow just before and after presidential elections in the nation as has been witnessed every four years (2013, 2017 and 2020). Over 90,000 new arrivals from the Central African Republic (CAR) have so far been registered in the DRC, adding to the already existing 173,931 registered in the provinces of North Ubangi, South Ubangi and Bas-Uele.
The needs of those arriving in the DRC are great. Health, shelter, education, protection, logistics, WASH and livelihoods are just some of the aspects that must be addressed to ensure the wellbeing of those fleeing into the DRC- into areas already lacking in many basic social and economic infrastructures.
The task of meeting these gaps is being coordinated by the DRC Government and the UNHCR under the Inter-Agency Refugee Response Plan (RRP) made up of 16 agencies working in different areas for the overall benefit of the refugees and their host communities. AIRD is one of the 16 agencies working to meet the goals of the RRP.
The main focus areas of all implementing partners, as listed in the RRP is to meet 3 defined goals including:
• Strategic Objective (1): Assist the Congolese Government in ensuring that refugees benefit from a favourable protection environment and are able to enjoy asylum, in line with international protection standards.
• Strategic Objective (2): Provide access to basic goods and essential services (health, nutrition, WASH, education, shelters, CRIs, food) for the newly arrived Central African refugees, including the host community whenever applicable.
• Strategic Objective (3): Promote equitable access to opportunities and increasing self-sufficiency for refugees and host communities to better cope with shocks
As one of the 16 implementing partners of the RRP, AIRD has been tasked with the shelter and logistics elements of the planned response activities.
Left: A visit to the Modale relocation site to see the progress of land clearing and construction of community shelters.
AIRD will continue to work closely with other partners in the region to give hope to those fleeing, with the hope that lasting peace solutions will one day encourage those displaced to safely return home.