KINSHASA, 18 FEBRUARY 2021 –
UNICEF and its partners are stepping up their assistance to Central African refugees settled in the localities of Yakoma and Ndu, in the provinces of Nord-Ubangi and Bas-Uele in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This response initially aims to ensure emergency access to water, hygiene and sanitation for 31,000 people and to support the establishment of a protective environment, particularly for children and women.
“UNICEF is deeply concerned about the well-being of thousands of Central African children who have recently arrived in DRC. Children are the first victims of post-election violence in the Central African Republic: their education is disrupted, they are exposed to deprivation and are sometimes separated from their families,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
By the end of January, UNICEF had delivered 47m3 of equipment to Yakoma and Ndu, including 20,232 soaps, 1,050,000 water purification tablets, 5,000 buckets, 485 jerry cans and 6,141 water, hygiene and sanitation kits, as well as equipment for the installation of two emergency water treatment units. This first shipment also contained coronavirus protection and prevention equipment, including masks and thermometers.
After an initial availability of water purification tablets, two emergency water treatment units are now operational in Yakoma to provide 60m3 of water per day to refugees and host communities. The distribution of essential items including jerry cans, soap, buckets, hand washing devices started on 17 February 2021 and continues for two days Emergency latrine blocks are being finalised.
Community involvement in communication activities to prevent the spread of epidemics is paramount. UNICEF is also organising training on basic hygiene measures for Community Animation Cells (CACs) and community leaders (host and refugee communities). Inputs have also been given to the Health Centres (soaps, surgical masks, hand washing facilities, buckets, waste bins).
Child Friendly Spaces and listening points are set up for refugee and host community children with the availability of recreational kits enabling them to learn, play and make friends in safe spaces. Through these activities, UNICEF supports the care, family tracing and reunification of unaccompanied children; as well as the identification, referral and psycho-social care of vulnerable children or victims of violence ,
Through regular consultations with women and girls, UNICEF also ensures the implementation of risk reduction activities related to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the targeted localities. Staff and partners in all sectors are trained on GBV risk reduction.
As a reminder, according to initial estimates by the Congolese authorities, around 92,000 Central African refugees have arrived in the DRC since 25 December 2020 to find refuge in the northern and southern provinces of Ubangi and Bas-Uélé.