Desperate Congolese drowning in escape to Uganda

Desperate Congolese drowningfrom JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE drowning of at least six Congolese refugees during desperate attempts to cross to Uganda has raised fear more lives could be lost during the dangerous journey by shaky boats.

A boat capsized on Lake Albert earlier this week while ferrying some refugees fleeing worsening conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Overloaded with luggage and fishing nets, the small canoe had paddled for nearly two days when it was hit by high waves, causing the passengers to fall overboard.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff reported several other incidents of boats going adrift due to engine failure or insufficient fuel.

Last Wednesday, UNHCR partners recorded two more deaths at the DRC shores of Lake Albert where thousands scramble to get onto the boats.

Last week, over 22 000 Congolese crossed Lake Albert to neighbouring Uganda, bringing the total number of DRC arrivals in the country to about 34 000 since the beginning of the year.

The refugees either use small canoes or overcrowded and rickety fishing boats, often carrying more than 250 people and taking up to ten hours to cross.

Babar Baloch, the UNHCR spokesperson, expressed sadness at the trend.

“UNHCR warns that even more lives could be lost on the often perilous lake routes, as increasing numbers of refugees escape intercommunal violence and conflict, across the eastern regions of the DRC,” he warned.

Over the past year, some 120 000 Congolese fled to neighboring countries.
Over 500 000 are in exile.

UNHCR has requested over US$368 million (R4,35 billion) for the refugeesituation but 1 percent has been secured.
CAJ News

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Posted by on Feb 15 2018. Filed under Africa & World, Featured, National, News, Regional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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