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UN Ramps Up Aid To Feed 100,000 Displaced In Congo

UN ramping up aid to feed 100,000 displaced in eastern DR Congo

18 November 2008 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is increasing its food distributions in the war-ravaged east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in a bid to reach almost 100,000 people uprooted by the conflict.

The agency seeks to reach the displaced around Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, and in areas further north which are controlled by renegade general Laurent Nkunda, who heads the militia known as the Congress in Defence of the People (CNDP).

Today, WFP began distributing 20-day rations for over 56,000 people in three camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near Goma, with plans to deliver supplies to another three sites in the area planned shortly.

Earlier this month, the agency delivered rations to the same half-dozen camps earlier this month.

Also today, the delivery of much-needed food aid will begin for 25,000 displaced in Kitchanga and 11,000 in Kilolirwe, both of which are camps situated in the rebel-held Masisi region, north-west of Goma.

With the security situation still shaky, food distributions are dependent on escorts from the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC.

In a press release, WFP expressed its great concern for the many thousands of people it cannot reach due to the hostilities, with reports coming in of new clashes in Rwindi and Kanyabayonga, more than 100 kilometers north of Goma.

But even in areas it can access, the agency stressed the difficulties humanitarian convoys face given the rainy season’s heavy downpours and poor road conditions.

To boost its storage capacity in Goma, WFP has set up five temporary warehouses. It has also dispatched two staff members to establish a logistics hub in Beni, in the north of the province, with plans to move food there from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, within the next three days.

Yesterday, MONUC strongly condemned the 16 November violation of the ceasefire by the CNDP, calling on the warring parties to give the ongoing political process a chance to succeed.

UN attack helicopters have mounted reconnaissance flights and “are poised to respond to any and all eventualities” after rebel forces violated a ceasefire and seized a number of localities in some of the worst fighting in more than a week.


© Scoop Media

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