Congolese refugee numbers grow by the day

And, as we reported earlier, the US will be taking 50,000 (actually the resettlement is already underway).

1,811 (from DR Congo) have arrived so far this fiscal year.  Check out the numbers here for all nationalities arriving in 2013.  Somalis are approaching the 5,000 mark as of June 30th.

New Congolese refugees waiting for space at new UN transit center. UNHCR photo

I’m reminded that we were only going to take 60,000 Bhutanese refugees but are already up to nearly 70,000 with no end in sight.

Here is the latest story from the UN:

BUNDIBUGYO, Uganda, July 18 (UNHCR) – More than 14,000 Congolese refugees have moved voluntarily to a transit centre in western Uganda’s Bundibugyo district but tension is rising between locals and thousands of people still camped in a school closer to the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The transit centre was opened last Sunday by the government and its partners, including UNHCR, to help cope with an influx last week of almost 70,000 Congolese refugees fleeing fighting across the border in North Kivu province between the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan rebel group, and the DRC armed forces. The centre is 30 kms from the border.

UNHCR staff in Bundibugyo said that 14,372 people had registered at the centre by early Thursday afternoon. They included at least 60 unaccompanied minors, mostly male…

Tensions building in the local community.

A bigger group of 20,000 to 30,000 people remain camped in and around Butogo Primary School located near the border. Many of these people wish to remain close to the border so that it will be easy to check on their homes and crops during daylight hours, but their presence has started causing tensions with the local community.

So, the “rebel” group—Allied Democratic Forces (“puritanical” Muslims, but the UN can’t say the word)—are on the move, and we will get the refugees to add to our unemployed and needy people in your city.  I’ll bet you this project ends up involving a lot more than the proposed 50,000.

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