Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Refugee Crisis
Since mid-March 2017, more than 30,000 Congolese have crossed into Angola, escaping escalating ethnic violence in the Kasai Region. With over half a million Congolese refugees in Africa, the DRC refugee crisis is one of the world’s most forgotten.
Within the framework of the Refugee Coordination Model, the Refugee Emergency Telecommunications Sector (RETS) was mobilised in north-eastern Angola to provide critical communications services for the humanitarian community responding to the needs of Congolese forced to flee.
As a refugee situation, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is leading response efforts. While the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) has not been activated, members of the cluster support the UNHCR-led response when and where required.
RETS has assessed reception centres and offices across Dundo, Kamako and Louva in northern Angola, identifying critical humanitarian communications needs. A dedicated ICT Officer has been deployed to support telecommunications needs of humanitarians responding in Dundo.
Mobile phone communication is available in Dundo, however coverage can be intermittent. RETS is liaising with national commercial companies to improve service reliability. Humanitarians deploying to this area are encouraged to carry satellite phones as an alternative means of voice communication. RETS is also liaising with mobile operators to expand their coverage in Lovua camp and potentially increase services to include 3G data connectivity.
The inter-agency Communications Centre (COMCEN) in Luanda, managed by UN Development Programme (UNDP) and coordinated by UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), is providing shared security communications for UN personnel operating in and around the capital. The long-range radio network (HF) has been reinforced ensuring humanitarians in Dundo can communicate directly with the COMCEN in Luanda.
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