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26 Congolese Refugees in Uganda Die from Diarrhoea – United Nations Reports

Duniya Aslam Khan, spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Uganda said that, health workers from the World Health Organisation, U.N. children’s fund UNICEF and Medecins Sans Frontieres had identified “acute watery diarrhoea” in camps in western Uganda and that hundreds more cases have been registered, Reuters reports.

As from February 15 to 19, 26 people have died from the disease and 424 cases are being treated.

Uganda’s refugee population has risen sharply recently due to the conflict in neighbouring Congo.

More than 4.4 million people have been displaced in Congo, in part aggravated by a political crisis sparked by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his mandate in 2016, the report said.

UNHCR says that so far this year, more than 42,000 have already arrived, bringing the total number of Congolese refugees in Uganda to a quarter of a million.

Prospects of fresh aid for refugees in Uganda have been dimmed after allegations that officials had likely inflated numbers to steal relief funds. Other charges include bribery, logistics fraud and trafficking of refugee girls.

The country says it has a total refugee population of about 1.4 million, more than a million of whom have fled from South Sudan’s four-year civil war.

Investigations by both the Ugandan government, the UN and the European Union are under way to verify the charges, and UNHCR has said its donors have told them they will withhold funding until the refugee numbers are verified.

“Our resources are stretched to the limit,” Duniya said, adding they needed new funds to de-congest existing settlements stretched by the Congolese influx.


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