1.1 Current context

Situation in the Country of Origin (DRC)

The eastern part of the DRC has been plagued by a number of recurrent insurrections since the Sun City Peace Accord was signed in South Africa in 2003. Uganda has yet again been receiving major refugee influxes from the DRC since 2011. This is due to continued activities by rebel groups in Eastern DRC, including the M23, ADF, M18 and other Mai Mai militia groups, as well as due to other human rights violations in the area. The main areas of origin are North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The presence of other armed groups on Congolese soil, such as Lord Resistance Army (LRA), Democratic Front for the Liberation (FDLR), and National Liberation Front (FNL) all contribute to the unpredictable situation. While an improvement was noted in late 2014 / early 2015, refugee influxes to Uganda have significantly increased in May 2015. The number of DRC new arrivals post January 2015 has exceeded the operational Planning figure for 2015, with over 32,000 new arrivals, compared with a planning figure of 20,000.

Response Capacity and Operational Context in Uganda

Overall, currently there is sufficient response capacity to cope with a continuing moderate influx from DRC to South-western and Mid-western Uganda. Response systems and procedures are well defined and running. Most new arrivals from the DRC are currently transiting through Nyakabande Transit Centre in Kisoro district, and are settled in Rwamanja settlement in Kamwenge district.

However, should the influx dramatically increase, existing partners and resources will need to be reinforced, and possibly additional response capacity will be required. New settlement areas, including in other settlements, and transit centres may need to be opened.

The ongoing response to the influx includes both life-saving emergency operations as well as efforts to stabilise the existing refugee population. The DRC influx constitutes one of the three major refugee emergencies that Uganda is currently exposed to.

Uganda has a long tradition of providing asylum to refugees. Uganda maintains a very favourable protection environment for refugees, which facilitates a non-camp type of approach to protection and assistance. Refugees benefit from:

• access to the same services (e.g. health facilities, schools) as nationals,
• the right to work and establish businesses,
• freedom of movement,
• access to documentation,
• the allocation of large plots of land for settlement and agricultural use.

The majority of DRC refugees are hosted on gazetted land in South-west (Nakivale, Rwamanja, Kyaka) and Mid-west (Kyangwali) Uganda. Some choose to live in urban areas. The emergency response system is focussed on rural settlement areas, where the most vulnerable refugees are living, while refugees in urban areas can access Government services and targeted support for persons with specific needs.

New arrivals are registered by the Government in the new Refugee Information Management System (RIMS). Asylum seekers are temporarily accommodated at the reception and transit centres. They are provided with food, non-food items (NFIs) and basic services. They are then allocated plots of land within settlements, household items, shelter kits and farming implements. Health and WASH support is provided in the settlements. There is high degree of community self-management structures through volunteers and community workers among the refugee population. Education support includes supporting refugee children with adjusting to the new school curriculum. Local government has been involved in the design of both school facilities and teacher trainings, ensuring that the arrangements within the settlement mirror the existing structures present in the host communities.

Challenges faced include the thinly stretched resources given the large DRC refugee population in several geographically diverse settlements in Uganda (213,000 as of Nov. 2015), and the continued steady arrival rate (over 32,000 new arrivals in 2015 alone). Distances are long, as DRC refugees arrive at multiple, often isolated and remote, border points, and need to be transported to settlements located dozens of kilometres away from the border points.

1.2 Planning Scenario

Risk Analysis for Refugee Mass Movements

Protracted current status quo, with deterioration: – Likelihood is high

• Continued presence and activities of multiple armed groups in Eastern DRC;
• Continued human rights violations in Eastern DRC, coupled with food insecurity due to the security situation;
• Sporadic outbursts of fighting leading to temporary short-term peaks in the refugee arrival rate to Uganda;
• The DRC elections scheduled in late 2016 may be associated with increased tensions in Eastern DRC, but will not lead to widespread instability.
• Continued entry into Uganda through multiple entry points through Kisoro, Kanungu districts– transiting through Nyakabande transit centre;
• Possible renewed entry at Bundibugiyo, Kasese and Ntoroko districts – transiting through Bubukwanga transit centre;
• Possible renewed entry at Ishasha, Butogota and Kyesehero borders in Kanungu district – transiting through Matanda transit centre;
• Average refugee arrival rate of less than 100 individuals per day;

Worst case: – Likelihood is medium

• One or several non-state armed groups in Eastern DRC launch major offensives and commit widespread exactions on the civilian population;

• Intensive military operations by state actors, possibly including MONUSCO, are undertaken against non-state armed groups;

• Widespread internal displacement in Eastern DRC due to military operations, and dramatic increase of Congolese seeking refuge in Uganda, originating from North Kivu and/or Ituri districts;

• Possibly compounded by major violent and/or political tensions in relation to the DRC election and pre-election period in 2016;

• The average daily refugee arrival rate in Uganda at multiple entry points exceeds 100 individuals per day, with peaks of arrival numbers over a sustained period of time.

Planning Scenario

This contingency plan will focus on the worst case scenario.


In terms of managing of new mass refugee influx, the emergency response will focus on coping with the influx and ensuring continued access to asylum, providing life-saving assistance services, and the effective management of transit centres and the installation of refugees in new settlement areas (for those who opt to reside in settlements, which is likely the large majority).
In terms of protection and assistance once refugees are settled, strategic priorities will look at developing service delivery capacity in health and education in particular, improved infrastructure especially in WASH, and enhanced socio-economic empowerment with a focus on improved livelihoods of refugees and host communities alike. The programme will also ensure child-friendly and gender sensitive programming to address the existing age and gender inequalities that ensure women, girls, boys and men have equal access to protection and that all humanitarian interventions take care of their needs and vulnerabilities.

Strategic Objective 1: Protection including emergency response

Preserve equal and unhindered access to territory and protection space and promote the full enjoyment of rights, while maintaining the civilian character of asylum. This objective includes continued emergency protection and response operations in line with SPHERE standards for recent and newly arriving refugees.

Strategic Objective 2: Peaceful co-existence with local communities promoted

Refugees live in safety, dignity and harmony with host communities, and together protect their natural environment while contributing to social cohesion.

Strategic Objective 3: Sustainable livelihoods improved

All partners will work with the Government to foster economic self-reliance for refugees and host communities, and thereby contribute to socio-economic empowerment of refugee hosting areas.

Strategic Objective 4: Social service delivery is integrated with local governments

All partners progressively enhance basic and social service delivery capacity in refugee-hosting areas, with a view to integrating services with local government systems, in line with the Uganda Government’s rural development standards.

Strategic Objective 5: Preparing for durable solutions

All partners contribute to preparing Burundi refugees for durable solutions – if and when feasible – in particular voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity, by progressively moving away from dependency towards increased resilience, sustainable self-reliance and development.


The emergency response outlined in this contingency plan will continue to be coordinated within the existing refugee coordination structure established in Uganda.

The response to the refugee influx from the DRC is led and coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with UNHCR, in broad consultation with UN and NGO partners involved in the response. This coordination arrangement is oriented towards achieving an effective integrated response involving members of refugee and host communities, government capacities as well as UN and national and international NGOs. The integration of national and external capacities in one response is particularly important in view of the non-camp settlement policy in Uganda, and the inclusion of refugee hosting areas in the National Development Plan (NDP II).

At Kampala level, the inter-agency coordination meeting will coordinate the overall strategy, priorities and problem solving for the response. The mechanism is co-chaired by OPM and UNHCR. The frequency of the Kampala-level meeting is adjusted as warranted by the situation. In addition, regular sector coordination meetings will take place. At the regional level and at the settlement level, regular inter-agency coordination meetings and sectoral meetings take place, with a focus on specific context oriented operational coordination.

Together with the OPM, UNHCR supports planning, implementation and coordination of the overall response for the refugee emergencies in Uganda. At field level, the District Local Governments (DLGs) are also at the forefront of the emergency response, working closely with UN and NGO partners supplementing government efforts.


4.1 Anticipated Emergency Scenario and Overall Response Strategy

Main border entry points:
• Bunagana, Busanza, Nteko, – main entry points – transiting through Nyakabande TC;
• Ishasa. Kysehero and Butogota, main Entry point – transiting through Matanda TC;
• Busunga, Bulyantano, Butogo and Ntoroko– transiting through Bubukwanga TC.

Population profile:
• Majority women and children 70% +, including/high likelihood of unaccompanied children;
• Survivors of human rights violations / various forms of violence;
• Possibly higher rate of malnutrition among arrivals.

Transit/reception centres:
• Nyakabande TC in Kisoro district (operational, needs renovation);
• Matanda TC in Kanungu district (in place, but currently not operational, needs major re-establishment);
• Bubukwanga TC in Bundibugyo district (in place, but currently not operational);
• Rwamanja RC (operational);
• Kyangwali RC (operational, may need substantial capacity increase).

Settlements and absorption capacity

The below figures are based on information known and refugee population in settlements as of end November 2015. The figures indicate the absorption capacity of the settlements in addition to the current refugee population hosted there. The settlements are listed in sequence of how they would be used:

• Rwamanja settlement – 20,000 individuals;
• Kyangwali settlement – 100,000 individuals.

Assistance sequencing:

Border transit centres (average stay up to 7 days):
• Basic communal shelter, WASH, basic nutrition/feeding (high energy biscuits);
• Identification and support to persons with specific needs (PWSN);
• Medical referral (ambulance);
• Protection monitoring and interventions;
• Sensitisation.

Border to reception centres in settlements:
• Transport for refugees;
• Basic medical services;
• Emergency nutrition, water and NFI assistance.

Reception centres in settlements (Maximum stay of 1 to 2 weeks):

• Basic communal shelter;
• Life-saving services: Health, WASH, wet feeding, nutrition;
• Referral support for victims of HR violations / violence, including SGBV;
• Support to other persons with specific needs (PWSN);
• Child friendly spaces;
• Sensitisation.

Registration into the Government Refugee Information Management System (RIMS) will take place at the transit centres.

In settlements:
• Plot allocation;
• Emergency (or transitional) shelter and NFI package at plots; refugees construct their own shelters (exception: PWSN receive support), or tents in case of mass influx;
• Food ration distribution;
• Nutrition;
• Basic service provision in settlements in close cooperation with district authorities: WATSAN (water trucking / pipe network); health; primary education
• Community mobilisation, protection interventions, SGBV survivor support;
• Child protection: Support to unaccompanied children, separated children, tracing, alternative care arrangements, child friendly spaces, ECD;
• Adolescent and youth programming;
• Livelihood support from early on as far as feasible;
• Protection monitoring.

4.2 Protection

Uganda has a very specific favourable protection environment for refugees, which facilitates a non-camp type of approach to protection and assistance. The progressive Uganda Refugee Act (2006) and Refugee Regulations (2010) allow refugees freedom of movement, the right to work, the right to own a business and to own property, access to Ugandan primary education and health care, and implicitly refugees have access to secondary education (Uganda’s universal secondary education policy was introduced after the Refugees Act was passed). Upon arrival, refugees are allocated plots of land for agricultural activities. Uganda also has favourable laws and policies that ensure access to services for both women, men, boys and girls

The Government of Uganda has already accorded prima facie refugee status to all new arrivals from the DRC. This practice is expected to continue in case of an increased influx. The Government of Uganda security forces will continue to ensure the civilian character of asylum by screening new arrivals at transit or reception centres.

New arrivals are registered by the Government in the new Refugee Information Management System (RIMS). Since the start of the current influx, different partners have contributed to increased protection responses through services for family tracing, alternative care arrangements for unaccompanied children, increased capacity in primary education to accommodate the large number of children arriving, and to put up and train community based structured to improve their capacity to undertake protection prevention and response activities. Education support includes supporting refugee children with adjusting to the new school curriculum. Local government has been involved in the design of both school facilities and teacher trainings, ensuring that the arrangements within the settlement mirror the existing structures present in the host communities.

Community and rights based principles are observed in emergency response interventions through leveraging of communities’ capacity on community based social protection and helping them to know and enjoy their rights. Deliberate efforts are carried out to strengthen the communities’ capacity to address the risks, identify solutions, agree on priorities and develop and implement action plan. This is carried out through establishment of leadership management structures, in line to the government structures, capacity building mobilization, meaningful engagement and awareness raising. Building of their future and self – dependence as of onset of emergency is considered in all responses interventions.

4.3 Sector responses

Protection – Ensure asylum space and full enjoyment of rights through:

– Individually biometrically register all refugees.

– Provision of identity cards to refugees.

– Enhancing access to civil documentation including birth, marriage and death certificate.

– Implement early identification, response and documentation of persons with specific needs including male and female SGBV survivors.

– Services tailored towards specific needs, in particular boys and girls.

– Prevention and response to sexual and gender based violence.

– Strengthening of refugee and host community leadership and self-management structures to enhance their capacity to identify and effectively attend protection cases in their communities.

– Enhancing identification and submission of resettlement cases.

– Facilitation of voluntary repatriation if and when feasible.

– Strengthening of the individual case management and filing system.

– Provide training to Government officials on refugee protection.

– Regular protection coordination meetings including all partners.

– Reception conditions improved in TC/ RC including provision of communal shelter & sanitation, cooked food and access to safe water through TC/RC management.

– Early screening at first point of arrival to identify SGBV survivors and others requiring urgent attention.

– Protection from crime strengthened in the settlement through establishment of community policing in the settlements; enhancing peaceful co-existence.

– Protection of children, including unaccompanied and separated (UASC) and other vulnerable children, in TC/RC and settlement (identification, BIA, BID, child counselling, fostering or alternative care arrangements, child protection case management and community child protection structures).

– Protection from crime strengthened through increased police presence in new settlement areas.

– Community dialogues with host communities and inclusion of host community representatives in training activities in the settlements.

– Risk of SGBV reduced & quality of response improved in TC/RC and settlement with SGBV survivors receiving medical assistance within the required timeline- 72 hours. This will be achieved through identification, counselling, training, sensitization, referral systems in place & community mobilization, SGBV task force, staffing support, training of health staff, other key stakeholders and SGBV case management.

– Procurement and distribution of post rape treatment kits and training of health personnel about the attention to SGBV survivors.

– Identification of refugees with legal needs and effective referral to appropriate legal representation.

– Ongoing protection training for other sectors and mainstreaming of protection responses including SBGV, child protection, gender and age sensitive approaches and psychosocial assistance to survivors.
– Capacity building of police (staffing, posts, training) and establishment of Refugee Settlement Police Protection Unit.


– Set up Early Childhood Development (ECDs) Centres;

– Improvement of primary school retention rates;

– Full integration with Ministry of Education, including addressing challenge of language barrier for Burundian new arrivals.

– Construction of schools, latrines, classrooms and teacher accommodation to meet the required standards in relation to population numbers.

– Construction of adequate WASH facilities at ECD centres and schools.

– Provide education materials to children aged 6-17.

– Establishment of at least 2 accelerated learning centres for English language teaching.

– Recruitment and training of adequate number of teachers.

– Sensitisation of new arrivals on education system in Uganda and go-back-to-school campaigns.

– Support to secondary school through rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure, including dormitories.

– Establishment of Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) and Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) in the settlement.

– Capacity building for ECD & CFS caregivers/teachers and school management committees.

– Provision of learning material including laboratory/ library to all primary schools.

– Provision of scholarships for children with disabilities to attend special needs schools, as well as orphaned and vulnerable children.

– Provide school based services for children who have been exposed to GBV; legal services and referral for SGBC survivors
– Provide information and awareness to the refugees and host communities on GBV prevention and response

Environment and Livelihoods – Non-agricultural and agricultural livelihood support;

– Formation of village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) and savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs);

– Energy efficient stoves;

– Increased use of alternative energy sources such as solar and eco-briquettes.

– Promotion of alternative energy source e.g. briquettes & solar and bio-gas as pilot projects

– Provision of training on energy efficient cooking practices for women.

– Establish energy saving device for communal lighting – schools, streets, Health Centres and staff accommodation.

– Establishment of school gardens and junior farmer schools.

– Development of community based environmental action plan and establish networking with stakeholders.

– Facilitate quarterly environment and livelihoods meeting among different stakeholders.

– Promote use of briquettes for communal kitchens, alongside piloting of Institutional biogas production.

– Establishment and maintenance of tree nurseries and demarcation of protected areas in/near the settlements.

– Establishment of waste management system at household level and institutional level.

– Establishment of Community, Agency and institutional woodlots with SOPs developed to ensure sustainable use.

– Create woodlots on institutional lands (school, health facilities)

– Fruit tree planting at Household level (targeting 8 trees/HH)

– Scaling up of SAFE (safe Access to Fuel Energy) Project.

– Establishment of by- Laws and zonal Environment committees.

– Non-agricultural – skill training with start up to 1000 individuals, so that 1000 household will be benefited along with accounting and business training.

– Provision of livestock and improved high yielding seeds of maize and beans, and nutrient rich orange sweet potato and iron rich beans

– Provide cash for work and design cash transfer mechanism to encourage income generation activities.

– VSLA group formation and provision of support resources (20% general HH).

– Provision of entrepreneurship skills building (e.g. training, leadership and organization development skills, formation of association, business plan, basic numeracy, literacy, accounting and life skills training).

– Value chain additions (e.g. equipment and materials including maize milling machine, maize sheller, rice thresher, packaging materials).

– Rapid market assessment

– Crop storage (communal) construction for post-harvest loss minimization

– Exchange visits among farmers’ groups and research station visits
– Market space for IGA

Food – In-kind and cash based interventions – with increased consideration for cash based interventions;

– Setting up Food Distribution point (FDP) infrastructure in new villages;

– General monthly Food distribution and monitoring in the settlements.

– Food security programmes with focus on agricultural inputs.

– Provision of water and snack/ High Energy Biscuits/ hot meal for refugees during the convoy movements.

– Provision of the communal hot meals at the TC and RC.

– Establish supplementary feeding through the health centres for malnourished cases/children.

– Establish therapeutic feeding through the health centres.

– School feeding programme to be initiated for ECDs by community with support of stakeholders.

– Construction of the food distribution shelters/infrastructure.
– Community management of Food distribution with support of the food management committees.

Health and Nutrition – Full integration of health services with the national health system;

– Provision of minimum health service package (incl. vaccinations) for new refugee arrivals;

– Ensure access to appropriate support and medical services for survivors of sexual and gender based violence.

– Joint rapid assessment for new sites to be conducted.

– Increased supplies of medicines and medical supplies for the emergency for all the health centres in the settlement including RH emergency kits.

– Provision of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated mosquito Nets (LLITNs)

– Provision of a light vehicle for Mobile Medical outreach services

– Increased Staffing support to health centres

– Renovation of existing staff accommodation blocks in all health centres

– Construction and equipment of a permanent isolation unit designed to suit outbreaks/diseases of PH potential concern in the settlement.

– Strengthening the medical referral systems

– Procurement and distribution of dignity kits for pregnant women.

– Procurement of nutrition supplies and equipment.

– Establish and train emergency health workers on nutrition screening centres and set up Community Management of Acute Malnutrition.

– Provision of systematic vaccination in RC for children U5.

– Support social mobilization for micronutrient supplementation and immunization services for women and children.

– Review disease preparedness plan of district (including procurement of cholera kit for new sites).

– Establishment/strengthening of Village Health Team on community health and nutrition in the new sites

– Strengthening disease surveillance activities at community and health facility level through training of health worker and community volunteers and provision of surveillance tools.

– Review and increase reproductive health services capacity in the Health Centres serving the refugees including Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health.

– Provide cervical cancer screening and management services in the settlement

– Support the provision of the Minimum initial service package (MISP) for Reproductive Health (including ASRH) including access to HIV/AID services.

– Capacity building of Health workers and Village Health Teams on Family Planning

– Supplementary feeding programmes for malnourished children for treatment of MAM

– Blanket supplementary feeding for children 6 – 23 months

– Maternal and child health and nutrition (MCHN) for pregnant and lactating women

– Procurement of anthropometric equipment

– Nutrition surveillance system

– Implement essential nutrition actions
– Infant and young child feeding practices

Logistics and Transport – Continued emergency preparedness through effective supply chain and logistics systems;

– Ensure timely and dignified transport of refugees from reception centre to their allocated plots

– Warehouse management with harmonised systems and controls

– Procurement of 15 light vehicles, 10 motorcycles, 2 4-wheel drive trucks and tippers, one 30-carrier coaster and maintenance
– Installation/ management of Fuel storage and dispensing facilities.

Non-Food Items (NFI) – NFIs: In-kind and cash based interventions – possibly the introduction of cash based interventions;

– Tools supporting agricultural activities.

– Distribute standard non-food item kits

– Procurement and distribution of standard basic core relief items (CRI) kit in transit.
– Procurement and distribution of standard core relief items (CRI) package in the settlements

Shelter and Infrastructure – Transitional shelter solutions oriented measures, such as an improvement of the shelter and NFI package;

– Community centres;

– Set up 3,456 emergency shelters

– Construct: reception centre, partner operating offices and staff accommodation at base camp, police posts and offices

– Rehabilitation of base camp facilities

– Distribute family tents to vulnerable families; Community mobilisation for construction of PSN/EVI shelters

– Procurement and distribution of standard shelter (housing) kits

– Assessment and design planning of new refugee villages within settlements; Plot verification, demarcation and allocation
– 50km of road needs to be systematically opened and maintained

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) – Gradual integration with government water, hygiene and solid waste management systems;

– Sustainable WASH Infrastructure development in refugee hosting areas;

– Water trucking and water tank installation in new settlements

– Borehole maintenance, rehabilitation/ drilling and/or establishing alternative water source.

– Explore other alternative long term low cost water supply solutions e.g. spring fed gravity flow systems.

– Motorization of high yield boreholes (solar/generator hybrid system) in settlements with high population density, at Health centres III, and at institutions in high population density areas.

– Construction of Valley tanks/earth dams for catchment Rain water harvesting for other water supply needs, beyond domestic use.

– Establishment of water committees

– Procurement and provision of HH sanitation kit and communal latrine excavation tool kits.

– Promotion of the modified Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) methodology

– Construction of drainable latrines and temporary latrines in TC/RC and institutions.

– Construction of emergency communal temporary latrines in the new refugee villages within the settlements according to SPHERE standards.

– Decommissioning of communal temporary latrines in older settlements, following construction of household latrines

– Vector-borne diseases control and prevention activities.

– Construction of: bathing shelter, refuse pits and laundry area at TC and RC; communal dumping site

– Procurement and provision of hygiene materials, including soap, water storage containers, hand washing containers, children’s potty and scoop.

– Production and dissemination of IEC materials for hygiene education
– Improvement of water and sanitation facilities at schools in refugee hosting areas.


6.1 Operational Information Management (Data)

Current inter-agency IM products will continue to be provided, including:

• Partner contact lists
• 3W
• Operational maps
• Performance indicator management and reporting
• Arrival trends
Online situation portal with up to date population statistics, documents and IM products @ http://data.unhcr.org/drc/country.php?id=229 (this is currently not updated).

6.2 Resource Mobilisation

A country level inter-agency Refugee Response Plan for the influx from the DRC will shortly be put in place. This will constitute the main collective fundraising tool.


The additional inter-agency resource requirements for the full worst case scenario (87,000 new arrivals) are estimated with at least US$ 85 million. This is based on an extrapolation from similar response costs reflected in the Burundi situation RRP (DRC and Burundi refugees are partially settled in the same locations).


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