KOBOKO. Congolese refugees living in Lobule Refugee settlement of Koboko district are calling upon United Nations High Commission for Refugees and implementing partners to give attention to issues of their welfare.
The refugees expressed their concerns to UNHCR and office of the Prime Minister during World refugee day celebrations on Wednesday this week at Adrumaga Primary school grounds, Lobule Sub County in Koboko district.
While presenting issues affecting them in the various camps, the refugee Welfare Council three (RWC III) chairman of Lobule settlement, Mr Samuel Abe disclosed some of the challenges the refugees demand to be addressed are inadequate supply of drugs in the health centres, need for an ambulance to Carter for expectant mothers and water challenges.
Others are poor roads connecting the camp to Koboko town and in adequate teachers in the camp schools.
He also noted that they lacked utensils for cooking and blankets especially as the rainy season approaches.
Abe said due to lack of drugs in health centres, they are normally told to buy the drugs from drug shops after being prescribed by the health personnel.
"This is a challenge because buying the drugs is expensive in terms of transport as some of the prescribed medicines are only found in the pharmacies that are in Koboko town. Coupled with poor state of the road to town, movement is made difficult especially when there is heavy downpour “he said.
Ms Juliet Atayi, from Lukojo Cluster of the refugee camp said due to high costs involved in accessing health services, she has now resorted to local herbs as she cannot afford the pharmaceutical drugs.
But Mr Stephen Sanya, the Koboko district vice Chairman speaking during the celebrations said some of the challenges the refugees are facing are in the process of being solved.
He said the local government has always ferried water using water truck during the dry season to the refugees adding that the district had always made an ambulance available for emergencies and filled vacant positions for teachers in schools where refugees are hosted.
Ms Paova Bulognesi, who represented the head of UNHCR sub office Arua said challenges the refugees pointed out would be forwarded to the higher authorities for action.
While there are a multitude of national and international organizations working in areas hosting South Sudanese, the Congolese have only two, the Koboko district local government and Humanitarian Assistance for Development Service (HADS).
Located about 15 kilometers East of Koboko Town in Lobule Sub County, Koboko district, Lobule refugee camp is one of the settlement camps hosting Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) refugees in Uganda.
The camp was established in September 2013 at the height of insurgency by the M18 rebels who also called themselves the United Congolese Peoples’ Army.
The guerrillas allegedly caused mayhem in Eastern DRC through rape, killings, burning of houses and kidnap. The war forced thousands of people to flee their homes with many crossing the border into Uganda and mainly settled in West Nile region.
The refugees were from the areas of Turupa, Gombe, Morodu, Gaaki, Lisoka and Pamara in Aru Territory, Ituri province.