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Cablegate: North Kivu Humanitarian Update

VZCZCXRO6078
OO RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1244/01 3060614
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020614Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7070
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5111
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2122
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0558
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KINSHASA 001244

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USAID/W
USAID/DCHA FOR MHESS, GGOTTLIEB
DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, ACONVERY, KCHANNELL, MSHIRLEY
DCHA/FFP FOR TANDERSON, NCOX, TMCRAE
DCHA/OTI FOR RJENKINS, KHUBER
AFR FOR BDUNFORD, CTHOMPSON
NAIROBI FOR USAID/OFDA/ECARO JMYER, ADWYER
NAIROBI FOR USAID/FFP DSUTHER
GENEVA FOR NYKYLOH
NSC FOR PMARCHAM
BRUSSELS FOR USAID PLERNER
NEW YORK FOR TMALY
USMISSION UN ROME FOR RNEWBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL PHUM CG
SUBJECT: NORTH KIVU HUMANITARIAN UPDATE

REF: A. KINSHASA 01217 B. KINSHASA 01188

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Since mid-October, a lull in major combat across most of North
Kivu Province has afforded relief organizations temporary access to
conflict-affected areas to assess humanitarian conditions and
deliver critical food and emergency relief supplies for displaced
and vulnerable populations. However, ongoing population movements,
a fluid security environment, and difficult or unreliable access
throughout much of Masisi and Rutshuru Territories remain
significant challenges for emergency relief efforts for the 351,490
people displaced by fighting since late 2006. In response, UN
agencies are working to target priority locations and populations
through coordinated convoys and assistance activities. End
summary.

-------------------
SECURITY AND ACCESS
-------------------

2. As of October 23, UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (MONUC) security officials have reported fewer recent clashes
between Mai-Mai elements, Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda
(FDLR), Congolese military (FARDC), and troops loyal to dissident
General Nkunda . Masisi Territory has remained relatively calm
since October 15, when government officials extended the deadline
for Nkunda's troops to join the military integration process
("brassage") . A confrontation between Mai-Mai and Nkunda groups in
the Rumangabo and Bunagana area along the Uganda border on October
20 interrupted a similar lull in Rutshuru Territory.

3. Despite the relative calm, MONUC staff are urging the
humanitarian community to exercise continued caution and state that
military offensives could begin at any point. MONUC also continues
to report heavy FARDC deployments to Walikale, Rutshuru, and Masisi
territories.

4. Unreliable access remains the largest obstacle to humanitarian
relief efforts in North Kivu. Both the UN World Food Program (WFP)
and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimate that up to 200,000
displaced people are currently inaccessible. Relief agencies
routinely face small-scale clashes, UN security constraints, and
limited MONUC escorts for travel beyond the Goma-Rutshuru road. In
addition, heavy rains regularly damage the poor roads and delay
convoys carrying relief supplies. Non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) report reluctance to travel with MONUC escorts following
recent accusations that MONUC is either supporting Nkunda's troops
or fighting alongside Congolese military forces.

--------------------
POPULATION MOVEMENTS
--------------------

5. Humanitarian staff report ongoing population movements as some
communities return home, residents flee sporadic clashes as well as
the recent fighting in the Bunagana area, and others anticipate
renewed military activity. As of October 15, the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that fighting
has displaced 351,490 people from Masisi and Rutshuru territories
since late 2006, of which 143,130 since early September. In
addition, relief agencies have received unconfirmed reports of a
further 151,805 people uprooted by insecurity. Based on an estimate
of 1 million people in Masisi and Rutshuru territories, OCHA claims
that approximately one-third of residents are currently displaced .


6. UNICEF reports that host communities are reaching their capacity
to absorb and provide support to displaced persons. While displaced

KINSHASA 00001244 002 OF 003


populations have generally settled with host families during
previous episodes of insecurity, approximately 40 percent of the
current IDPs are living in schools, churches, and at group
settlement sites.

7. The largest concentrations of displaced persons include
approximately 56,920 in the Goma area, 38,520 near Rutshuru town,
and 18,495 in Kisharo, Rutshuru Territory. Preliminary reports
indicate possible large-scale displacements from Bunagana, Jomba,
Rumangabo, and Rugari towns near the Uganda border following
fighting on October 20. Relief agencies planned to conduct
humanitarian assessments of the area and verify the reported
population movements.

8. The humanitarian community in Goma indicates that the fluid
security environment and resulting population movements, both away
from and back to areas of origin, complicate efforts to accurately
track the size and priority needs of this vulnerable group. In
addition to the above estimates, relief agencies have received
reports of renewed returns between Kiwanja and Nyamilima, and up to
8,500 families previously displaced near Mweso arriving in the
Nyanzale area in Rutshuru Territory.

--------------
PRIORITY NEEDS
--------------

9. WFP continues to express concern over high malnutrition rates
among the conflict-affected population of North Kivu, particularly
in Rutshuru Territory (Ref A). The protracted nature of this
conflict has interrupted income-generating activities, disrupted
agricultural production, and negatively impacted food security for
displaced populations and their host communities throughout Masisi
and Rutshuru territories.

10. In addition, the cycles of alternating calm and conflict have
led to nearly continuous episodes of displacement across these
territories, often affecting the same communities multiple times and
leading to prolonged displacement of others. The steadily growing
displaced population requires continued relief efforts to provide
access to clean water, health services, sanitation facilities, and
basic household supplies such as blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking
utensils, and soap.

----------------
RESPONSE EFFORTS
----------------

11. Despite the difficult operating environment characterized by
unpredictable security and difficult or unreliable access, UN
agencies and relief organizations are engaged in ongoing emergency
response activities for the large conflict-affected population of
southern North Kivu. USAID-funded UNICEF has distributed emergency
relief supplies to an estimated 400,000 people, and provided water
and sanitation services for approximately 350,000 since late 2006.
Between January 1 and October 21, WFP provided 11,453 metric tons of
emergency food assistance to 627,170 in North Kivu, also with
support from USAID.

12. In response to growing malnutrition concerns, WFP and UNICEF
are coordinating to expand supplementary and therapeutic feeding
programs, particularly in Birambizo, Mweso, and Rwanguba health
zones of Rutshuru Territory. The approachtargets the most
vulnerable persons by providingemergency food rations to the
families of malnourshed children and pregnant or lactating mothers,and is equally available to displaced and residentpopulations.
UNICEF currently supports 118 such enters across Masisi and
Rutshuru. NGOs includig the International Rescue Committee,
Internationl Medical Corps (IMC), and Medecins sans Fronteres are
also engaged in supplementary feeding programs in Rwanguba,
Karisimbi, and Masisi health zones.

KINSHASA 00001244 003 OF 003

13. USAID's Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
currently funds IMC to provide primary health care and referral
services in the larger Goma area, and is in discussion with two
additional partners to provide similar health services in Rutshuru
Territory. Between September 8 and October 21, IMC consulted 13,594
patients in the immediate Goma area and admitted 1,627 malnourished
children for supplementary feeding programs. OFDA also supports
UNICEF's rapid response mechanism, which holds primary
responsibility for monitoring humanitarian conditions, identifying
priority needs, and providing the initial round of relief assistance
to communities throughout North Kivu.

14. Following the resurgence in fighting and resulting displacement
in early September, OFDA committed nearly USD 3 million to purchase
and transport relief commodities for 100,000 people to ensure an
adequate stockpile of emergency relief supplies for further
anticipated displacement. OFDA staff coordinated the airlift of 319
MT of commodities on 17 flights to Goma between September 28 and
October 15. UNICEF is currently transporting the first of these
supplies to Nyanzale to benefit 1,329 displaced households.

15. OCHA continues to coordinate relief efforts throughout North
Kivu, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) manages camp coordination for the displaced population in
the Goma area. With guidance from OCHA, UNHCR is currently leading
the effort to identify contingency sites for communities in transit
between Goma-Masisi and Goma-Rutshuru, as well as exploring Kibumba,
approximately 20 km north of Goma, for a site to host persons
displaced from Rutshuru Territory.

-------
COMMENT
-------

16. OFDA staff note that earlier tension between UNHCR and both WFP
and UNICEF appears to be diminishing, and WFP reports an improved
working relationship and closer coordination with UNICEF (Ref B).
While WFP and UNICEF continue to disagree with UNHCR over the
presence of armed security at settlement sites, the dispute did not
significantly hamper the latest WFP food distributions at the Goma
sites.

17. Recent coordinated convoys of food and medical supplies are
another positive indication of recent cooperation between various
relief agencies. Following the extended government deadline for
dissident troops to join the brassage process, OCHA quickly
facilitated a convoy to carry food and medical supplies provided by
multiple UN agencies to critical priority areas frequently blocked
to humanitarian actors owing to insecurity. End comment.

BROCK

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