Ntoroko leaders want refugee-hosting status

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Ntoroko leaders want refugee-hosting status
Ntoroko leaders want refugee-hosting status

Africa-PressUganda. Authorities in Ntoroko District have asked government to declare it a refugee host community following the influx of refugees from DR Congo.

The district, which borders DRC and River Semuliki and Lake Albert, hosts about 1,000 refugees.

However, according to authorities, more than 700 refugees have crossed into the district since Friday following instability in Boga Town of DRC.

The district chairman, Mr William Kasoro, on Tuesday said the refugees take advantage of porous borders to enter into communities thus stretching social services.

Mr Kasoro said when the government declares the district a refugee host community, they will have gazetted places for refugees with a special budget for them.

“We are appealing to the government to declare Ntoroko a refugee host community because we have many refugees coming from DRC. They come through porous borders and cross via River Semuliki. When they reach here, we have to struggle for the few services, and government and other partners don’t give us extra funding to cater for them,” he said.

Leaders and residents are also worried that the refugees may further spread Covid-19 and Ebola.

“We want the Ministry of Health to help us screen these people because we do not have the capacity to do. These people may bring in diseases such as Ebola. We have alerted our security to keep monitoring the border and we appeal to the government through the office of Prime Minister to send us relief food,” Mr Misach Kawamara, the Resident District Commissioner, said.

The head of communications in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Julius Muchunguzi, yesterday said the request should be made official.

“Government is aware of the situation in Ntoroko. It is a serious matter and all efforts from the government are being made to ensure that refugees are helped. The request to declare the district a refugee host community must be official and it will be looked into and consider the criteria used to make a district a refugee host community,” he said.

When asked about refugees not being screened, the senior spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Mr Emmanual Ainebyoona, said: “ Its point of concern and I will raise the issue to the attention of our team and Director-General Ministry of Health for action.”

Local leaders on Tuesday in Karungutu and Rwamabale had started identifying refugees who interacted with population to be relocated to one place.

Ms Eva Keti Mbabuna, a resident of Karungutu Town, on Monday said she had allowed more than 30 refugees in her home, with majority children and mothers.

“Some are constructing a temporary shelter in my compound, I want the government to help them with food and other items,” Ms Mbabuna said.

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