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Over 11 million people displaced in central and east Africa

afrol News, 18 May - The UN Humanitarian Agency has said that the number of internally displaced persons and refugees in 16 countries in Central and East Africa driven by armed conflict and natural disasters has surpassed 11 million.

According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) statistics, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Sudan continue to be the countries with the largest displacements of people. “Sudan has over 4 million displaced people while DRC and Somalia have over 1.3 million each,” OCHA said.

The agency said that the number had risen from 10.9 million in December last year, to 11 million attributing much of the increase to conflicts in the eastern DRC.

The agency also said that among the causes of the displacement were repeated attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on civilians in the north-eastern DRC and renewed fighting in the eastern North Kivu province related to the joint DRC-Rwanda military operation in January and February against armed rebel groups.

“Also, ongoing hostilities in Somalia have resulted in an influx of refugees to the north-eastern Kenya, where the three camps in the Dadaab complex are congested with a population of some 258,000 refugees,” the OCHA report said.

OCHA said other causes of high numbers of displaced people was also triggered by natural disasters such as floods and droughts, creating large in-country and cross-border population movements in east and central Africa.

It further said lack of access to displaced people due to insecurity and targeting of humanitarian workers is an ongoing challenge to those who provide aid in countries such as CAR, Chad, DRC, Somalia, and the Darfur region of Sudan.

The refugee hosting countries are Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Djibouti, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

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