The UN Refugee Agency in Uganda has regretted the accident on Thursday involving refugees who were in transit to Kyaka II refugee camp in which two children died.
A convoy of 11 buses was transporting 837 Congolese refugees from Kisoro reception centre in Western Uganda to Kyaka ll refugee settlement in Kyegegwa district when one of the buses veered off the road and overturned.
Several of the passengers sustained severe injuries.
UNHCR has since issued a statement regretting the deaths of the two children who died on spot. One of them was four years old while the other was eight.
“The UN Refugee Agency is deeply saddened at the death of two refugee children in a traffic accident near Ibanda District this morning,” the statement by UNHCR late on Thursday read in part.
“We wish to convey our thoughts and prayers to the affected families,” said Hassan Dabar, UNHCR Senior Field Coordinator in Mbarara, who was at the scene of the accident.
“UNHCR and its partners stand ready to provide all possible medical care and support to the refugees who are affected by the accident.”
Initial reports indicate that the bus driver lost control when he swerved to avoid a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) trying to overtake on the wrong side of the road. The bus was carrying 76 refugees.
The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), UNHCR, Medical Teams International (MTI) and local police, immediately rushed refugees who had minor injuries to Ruhoko Health Centre in Ibanda District.
Nine of them were taken to Mbarara Referral Hospital with serious injuries.
The UNHCR Country Representative, Joel Boutroue who is currently in Arua described the deaths as “heartbreaking”.
“It is heart-breaking for refugees who came to Uganda in search of safety to perish in a tragic road accident,” Boutroue said.
“This was supposed to be the new chapter of a better life for two young children after fleeing conflict and violence in their home country.”
Boutroue conveyed his sympathies to the affected families.
Since January this year, over 77,000 Congolese who fled violence in their homes and villages have sought refuge in Uganda mainly through Lake Albert and Kisoro.
UNHCR is assisting the Government to respond to the influx, including through organizing convoys to transport refugees from border areas to Kyaka II and Kyangwali refugee settlements.