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Inter-Agency Refugee Response Plan: Central African refugee emergency in the Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, March - December 2021

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The new refugee influx from the Central African Republic (CAR), underlines the cyclical nature of this humanitarian crisis, with influxes recurring every four years, which calls for a deeper reflection on how to respond. Conflict and insecurity inside CAR continue to cause significant forced displacement both within CAR and into neighboring countries, particularly affecting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The deterioration of the security situation coinciding with rising tensions during election years (2013, 2017 and 2020) has now left about five per cent of the entire population of the CAR displaced inside the DRC. In the recent influx, according to local authorities in the DRC, some 92,000 Central African refugees fled to the DRC giving rise to a new and complex emergency. This is in addition to the existing CAR population already living in northern DRC.

This Inter-Agency Refugee Response Plan (RRP) seeks to address the complex needs of an increasing number of CAR refugees and asylum-seekers situated in a vast area that poses huge logistical challenges.

The protracted nature of the crisis is also heavily impacting the host populations with refugees situated in some of the most poverty stricken and underserved areas of the DRC that lack adequate access to services. While the local community has been generous, this refugee crisis compounds protection risks to refugees and asylum-seekers as it creates fertile ground for tensions over resources between refugees and host communities.

The Government of the DRC and RRP partners have scaled up efforts to provide protection and humanitarian assistance, save lives, improve living conditions and reinforce the resilience of Central African refugees and their host communities.

A comprehensive humanitarian response has been developed that addresses life-threatening needs and promotes, as much as possible, sustainable approaches and builds on an out-of-camp approach to benefit refugee and host communities alike. The RRP partners do so by enhancing synergies, ensuring compatibility with planned development activities in the region, in the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees. Making this link is critical due to the challenges the region faces, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the significant logistical challenges in the areas where the refugees have settled.

In this Inter-Agency plan, coordinated by UNHCR and the DRC Government, RRP partners are appealing for a total of US$ 69 million to assist around 92,000 new refugees and close to 100,000 host community members in 2021.

As part of this RRP, 16 partners will strive to jointly use their resources and bring their expertise to bear. Funding for this Inter-Agency plan will determine the amount of assistance that can be provided by RRP partners. Therefore, we count on the much-needed support of international community to realize the activities as set out in this Inter-Agency Response Plan, to address the unfolding emergency.

Eric Malu Mukandila
Permanent Secretary, National Commission for
Refugees, Ministry of the Interior, Democratic
Republic of the Congo

Liz Kpam Ahua
UNHCR Representative
Democratic Republic of the Congo