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Aid Workers Unable To Reach 25,000 Displaced

21 April 2005

Aid Workers Unable To Reach 25,000 Displaced In Dr Of Congo Camp, UN Says

With aid workers unable to reach about 25,000 displaced people in a camp in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a cholera outbreak, the situation is likely to worsen not only for the infected, but also for those who need basic supplies of food and water, the United Nations emergency coordination office said today.

"In addition to the cholera epidemic, which is likely to get out of hand in the absence of a continuous follow-up in Tché, the IDPs (internally displaced persons) will soon run out of food, water and medical supplies, making their situation even more complex in the face of an already volatile humanitarian situation," said Modibo Traoré, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bunia.

Some165 cases of cholera, with four deaths, were counted in Tché camp before the area became inaccessible, OCHA said. About 1,420 people in Tché, Tchomia and Kafé have been infected since the start of the outbreak on 26 March and another 20 new cases of the disease have been detected daily, it added.

Tché is about 61 kilometres north of Bunia, in an area where UN peacekeepers and DRC national troops have been disarming fighters, especially along the Iga Barrière-Katoto road, OCHA said.

The fighters have been attacking civilians in Djugu territory despite a 1 April deadline, imposed by the peacekeeping UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), to have handed up their weapons.

MONUC has proposed establishing a mechanism to give humanitarian aid workers safe passage to and from the area, OCHA said.

ENDS

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