RWANDA CARE Responds to the Influx of DRC Refugees

Emergency response to assist thousands of refugees fleeing conflict

Kigali, Rwanda (14/05/2012) - Emergency teams from CARE International in Rwanda have mobilized to meet the humanitarian needs of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to seek safety in neighbouring Rwanda.

Ongoing fighting between Government forces (FARDC) and rebel soldiers in the North Kivu Province has led to a large number of civilians fleeing into Rubavu District in the Western Province of Rwanda.

By May 12, 2012, more than seven thousand Congolese refugees had crossed the border into Rwanda, and were received by the Government of Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), who sheltered them at Nkamira Transit Center.

The camp, which has the capacity to hold 2,500 people, is now the temporary home of about three times that number. 58% percent of the refugees are children under the age of 18, and 56 percent are women, of whom health workers have identified 90 as pregnant.  As hundreds of refugees continue to be received at Nkamira every day, efforts from various partners are crucial in order to meet the basic humanitarian needs of the refugees

CARE International is therefore committed to work with MIDIMAR to assist incoming refugees. CARE quickly deployed a Rapid Assessment Team to work along with other partners to fulfil this mission.

‘Conditions in the camp are critical,’ commented Emile Ruzibiza, an experienced engineer and member of CARE’s Rapid Assessment team. ‘The rains have been especially heavy this year in the North-Western Province, and the refuse and waste from the camp are mixing with mud near where children are playing.’ CARE’s initial operations include the provision and installation of a safe and hygienic system for the management of the solid waste generated by the thousands of refugees.

‘Sexual and reproductive health is another urgent priority,’ said Agnes Mukamana, a qualified nurse and leader of CARE’s Emergency Team at the camp. ‘In such conditions, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections can quickly spread, affecting mainly women and girls as they are the most vulnerable.’ CARE’s early response includes the distribution of kits for safer birth and survival of newborns, as well as condoms and family planning supplies, as part of international standard kits for improved reproductive health, complemented by health education and awareness raising activities.

‘Partnership is at the heart of our emergency response’ said Matt Bannerman, acting Country Director for CARE in Rwanda. ‘As a global aid agency but also a member of the humanitarian community here in Rwanda, CARE will coordinate closely with the Government and other humanitarian actors to ensure our resources are deployed effectively to meet the urgent needs of those fleeing conflict.’

Read our latest human interest stories from DRC here and here.

Media Note: CARE Staff in Rwanda are available for interviews  
Matt Bannerman, CARE Rwanda, Acting Country Director at [email protected]
Agnes Mukamana, CARE Rwanda Emergency Project Manager at [email protected]

Media contact:
Jeannette Nduwamariya, CARE Rwanda Communications Manager
at [email protected], (+250)788589571

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve education, health and economic opportunity.