Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 20, 2018/ — IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) successfully carried out the first voluntary return operation from Tanganyika Province on 17 February. The return operation was preceded by a survey conducted among the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the collective center EP La Gloire, a school located in Kalemie, Tanganyika’s provincial capital. The survey revealed that 30 households intended to return voluntarily to their area of origin, and 891 households wanted to be transferred to another displacement site in Kalemie.

The operation was carefully planned alongside the humanitarian community and Congolese authorities. The day of the operations, another 71 households expressed their wish to return voluntarily to their area of origin instead of being transferred to another displacement site. IOM, acting swiftly and in close collaboration with the Congolese authorities, was able to finally return 102 households to the Kasanga-Mtoa area, for a total of 230 returnees.

“The returning families received transportation, refreshments and medical assistance and spent the journey from the collective center back to their villages singing with joy,” said IOM Head of Office in Kalemie Amalia Torres.

However, a majority of IDPs living in spontaneous displacement sites in and around Kalemie City are still pondering whether they should return to areas they left months ago because of insecurity.

“IDPs I met in Kalunga site have told me they will return home once they believe the security conditions are adequate,” Torres added. “We stand ready to help them return home once they tell us the time is right. In the meantime, IOM will continue to provide them with the assistance they need.” Plans to return and transfer the remaining IDPs in EP La Gloire will continue in the coming days.

Following the launch of IOM’s humanitarian crisis appeal for the DRC, Sweden announced on 7 February that it would double its funding for IOM’s emergency operations in Tanganyika and North Kivu.

This announcement follows the recent field visit to Kalemie of Mårten Löfberg from the Swedish Embassy in Kinshasa, who went to displacement sites and met with internally displaced households from 14 to 16 February.

The humanitarian situation in the DRC has deteriorated dramatically over the past year. The country has witnessed a significant increase in conflict and violence. The violence has also spread to areas and provinces previously considered stable and calm, such as the provinces of Kasai and Tanganyika. Due to the increased conflict, DRC has become the African country with the highest number of IDPs estimated at 4.35 million.

On 11 December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the country. IOM’s interventions will focus on the following sectors: Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Displacement Tracking, Shelter and Non-Food Items, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, and Protection, particularly responding to gender-based violence. As of today, IOM DRC has received USD 4.9 million to address the needs of the appeal.


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