Cholera outbreak in Uganda poses further risk to Congolese refugees

Kampala/Nairobi, 5 March 2018 – Thousands of Congolese seeking refuge at settlements in south western Uganda are at risk of contracting cholera, warns the international aid organisation CARE. 

According to the Ugandan Ministry of Health, 34 people have died and 1,257 cases have been confirmed. Cholera, an acute infectious disease, is spread through eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water. If not treated, it can quickly prove fatal.  

The outbreak has been declared in a number of sites including the refugee settlement of Kyangwali, home to thousands of Congolese who have fled fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in recent weeks.  

CARE is working in Kyangwali, providing assistance to survivors of sexual and gender based violence. Most of the refugees crossing into Uganda from DRC are women and girls, and many have experienced one or more forms of gender based violence during their flight to Uganda.  

Delphine Pinault, Country Director for CARE Uganda, said:

This outbreak has come at a particularly bad time. People are exhausted, especially women and girls who have already suffered so much trauma. In addition to the worrying health implications, families face further dislocation should this outbreak spread further. They face losing their loved ones, parents and caregivers, and will become even more isolated and more vulnerable if we don’t act quickly.

She continued:

We’ve seen waves of refugees arriving in their thousands in the last few weeks. The needs are overwhelming as we simply don’t have the resources to match it. We urgently need more funds if we don’t want to lose more lives.

According to the UNHCR, more than 45, 000 refugees from DRC have arrived in Uganda since January 1st.

About CARE:

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries to reach 80 million people, including more than 11 million through emergency response and humanitarian aid. Learn more at www.care.org.  

Media contact:

Emily Wight, Senior Press Officer (Programmes and Policy): +44 (0)20 7091 6063, wight@careinternational.org 

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