MORE than 30 Congolese refugees died from a massive cholera epidemic in neighbouring Uganda this week. The death toll is from more than 1 000 cases reported in the refugee settlements of Hoima and Kyaka districts in the west and south west. In Hoima, as of Monday, 1 056 suspected cases with 29 deaths had been reported. As of Tuesday, 39 suspected and confirmed cases and two deaths were reported in Kyaka. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations said it was monitoring the dire situation and supporting the refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). “Further support is being considered under the 2018 budget,” said a spokesperson. Cholera is a serious acute infectious disease characterized by watery diarrhoea, vomiting and kills a person within a few hours. It can be spread through eating and drinking foods contaminated with faeces of an infected person. Other factors responsible for its spread are poor personal hygiene. Thousands of Congolese, mostly children and women, have fled the violence ravaging the eastern parts of the former Zaire, where clashes between armed rebel groups and the national army are raging. The region is also suffering recurrent clashes between rival ethnic groups. A myriad of conflicts has displaced more than 4 million civilians in the Central African country. In addition, security forces have killed scores of protesters during demonstrations against President Kabila retaining power despite the expiry of his mandate at the end of 2016.