Kisoro, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 10,000 refugee children in Nyakabande transit centre are struggling to access education services.
The children crossed into Uganda following fighting between the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers that started on March 28, in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province.
Primrose Natukunda, the Kisoro district manager for the Ugandan Red Cross, says that 870 fresh refugees were registered at the transit center on Monday evening while thousands remain in Bunagana.
Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs says that the 12,000 children at the transit center are not receiving education services.
Nyirabashitsi also says that the situation has worsened due to lack of education facilities like schools at the transit center. She however says that the refugees are being convinced to accept the transfer to Nakivale refugee camp where there are education services.
Robert Tukamuheebwa, Deputy Kisoro Resident District Commissioner says that the majority of the children at the transit centre are below five years. Tukamuheebwa says that they are only providing immunization and fighting against malnutrition.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS), a catholic based organization that supports orphaned and vulnerable children in Central and Western Uganda in conjunction with the Uganda Red Cross Society have been constructing 20 latrine blocks and 40 communal shelters to maintain hygiene at the centre.
Hillary Adomat, the Shelter Technical Officer for Catholic Relief Services says that the communal shelters are targeting to accommodate 4,000 refugees.
Natukunda says that they are still challenged by some of the refugees who are yet to adapt to using toilets but instead use nearby bushes to answer nature’s call. She also says that the Uganda Red Cross society has installed four 10,000 liters of water tanks to help in providing safe water to the refugees.
Fighting between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers resumed in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in the areas of Kibumba and Buhumba in Nyiragongo, North Kivu. FARDC claims that it was attacked by the rebels in its position located on Nyundo hill, less than a kilometer from the Goma-Rutshuru road with an aim of occupying the region that is strategic to the city of Goma.
The attack was however repelled by the FARDC, according to the spokesperson for Sokola 2, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Njike.
On Monday, Rwanda Defense Forces through their military spokesperson, Colonel Ronald Rwivanga accused FARDC of shelling into Rwandan territory of Kinigi and Nyange sectors in Musanze district injuring several civilians and damaging property.