GENEVA/ CONGOLESE REFUGEES

13-Feb-2018 00:01:58
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today in Geneva that it was “deeply saddened” by the deaths of four Congolese refugees who drowned while attempting to flee to safety across Lake Albert to neighbouring Uganda. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA/ CONGOLESE REFUGEES
TRT: 02:01
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 FEBRUARY 2018, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior, UN Geneva, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, Spokesperson for UNHCR:
“UNCHR is deeply saddened by reports of four Congolese refugees who drowned as they were seeking safety in Uganda, after their boat capsized on Lake Albert.”
4. Wide shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, Spokesperson for UNHCR:
“Last week, over 22,000 Congolese crossed Lake Albert to Uganda, bringing the total number of DRC arrivals in the country to about 34,000 since the beginning of this year. The refugees either use small canoes or overcrowded and rickety fishing boats, often carrying more than 250 people and taking up to ten hours to cross the lake.”
6. Med shot, journalist
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, Spokesperson for UNHCR:
“Refugees crossing to Uganda talk of growing attacks against civilian populations, as well as killings and destruction of private property. UNHCR staff also received many reports of civilians being hacked to death and killed with arrows.”
8. Close up journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, Spokesperson for UNHCR:
“Over the past year, some 120,000 Congolese fled to neighboring countries, joining the 510,000 refugees that were already in exile. With Congolese refugee flows to neighboring countries expected to further increase in 2018, UNHCR is urging donors to step up their support from the US$368 million that UNHCR has requested for the DRC refugee situation, only one per cent has been funded so far.”
10. Close up, journalists
11. Close up, hand typing
12. Med shot, cameraman
13. Wide shot, journalists
STORYLINE
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said today (13 Feb) in Geneva that it was “deeply saddened” by the deaths of four Congolese refugees who drowned while attempting to flee to safety across Lake Albert to neighbouring Uganda.

UNHCR warned that more lives could be lost on the often perilous lake routes, as increasing numbers of refugees escape intercommunal violence and conflict, across the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Babar Baloch, Spokesperson for UNHCR told reporters “last week, over 22,000 Congolese crossed Lake Albert to Uganda, bringing the total number of DRC arrivals in the country to about 34,000 since the beginning of this year.”

He added “the refugees either use small canoes or overcrowded and rickety fishing boats, often carrying more than 250 people and taking up to ten hours to cross the lake.”

Overloaded with luggage and fishing nets, the small canoe, which was carrying the four refugees who drowned on 11 February, had paddled for nearly two days when it was hit by high waves, causing the passengers to fall overboard. UNHCR staff reported several other incidents of boats going adrift due to engine failure or insufficient fuel, prompting rescue operations by the Ugandan authorities.

Meanwhile, on 7 February, UNHCR partners recorded two more deaths at the DRC shores of Lake Albert, where thousands of people are waiting to cross, as some wrangled to get onto the boats. With attacks on villages in the DRC province of Ituri continuing over the weekend, UNHCR has called for increased humanitarian access to the area, to cover the population’s enormous protection and assistance needs.

The spokesperson said “refugees crossing to Uganda talk of growing attacks against civilian populations, as well as killings and destruction of private property. UNHCR staff also received many reports of civilians being hacked to death and killed with arrows.”

Growing violence and displacement has the UN Refugee Agency worried about how to meet the needs of the increased Congolese refugee flow, now totaling some 630,000 people.

Baloch said “over the past year, some 120,000 Congolese fled to neighboring countries, joining the 510,000 refugees that were already in exile, adding that “with Congolese refugee flows to neighboring countries expected to further increase in 2018, UNHCR is urging donors to step up their support. From the US$368 million that UNHCR has requested for the DRC refugee situation, only one per cent has been funded so far.”
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