Avions sans frontières’s cessna 206 gently bumped down the Ango runway, in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The local Terre Sans Frontières (TSF) team was happy to see us, telling us the runway was recently lengthened and widened to accommodate United Nations planes.
This was one of the projects carried out in Ango as part of a major infrastructure program launched in provinces of Bas-Uélé, Haut-Uélé and Ituri, and aimed at improving the living conditions of refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees. The 3.7-kilometre stretch of road that we took to get to the Mboti camp, which hosts approximately 650 Central African Republic (CAR) refugees, has also been repaired as part of the program led in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
On our way to the camp, we passed three other projects: a school under construction that will have six classes, a brand new health centre that can see some 30 patients a day, and a recently inaugurated community hall. All that infrastructure is for people from both the camp and the village, including 800 Congolese returnees back from South Sudan and the CAR.
At the Mboti camp, while a few tents and emergency facilities remain, such as the school made of wood, 100 small brick houses have been built to host the families, and 25 more are on their way. A collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) also makes it possible to distribute food supplies and cash to meet a number of pressing needs.
In Bondo, east of Ango, where more than 9,000 refugees are located, 325 houses have been built to date, as well as a complex for the partners with 15 offices.
In Tchomia, which is more to the south and next to Lake Albert, 79 small houses have also been built for as many families displaced within the country itself, who have fled the fighting between Ugandan militias and DRC soldiers.