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Cablegate: Democratic Republic of the Congo - North Kivu Humanitarian

VZCZCXRO7060
OO RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1141/01 2681300
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251300Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6942
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5087
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2105
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0540
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KINSHASA 001141

SIPDIS

ALDAC
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: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO - NORTH KIVU HUMANITARIAN
UPDATE

REF: KINSHASA 01137

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

1. Despite sporadic clashes between various armed groups in North
Kivu Province, and a generally tenuous security environment,
humanitarian agencies have begun to survey previously inaccessible
areas. Relief officials report varying patterns of displacement,
with pockets of small-scale returns, areas of new displacement, and
additional communities in need of emergency assistance. Relief
efforts are ongoing in the Goma area, and USAID field staff note
increased attention to vulnerable communities beyond Goma, plus
initial progress in coordination among UN and humanitarian
organizations. However, the unpredictable security situation
continues to impede reliable access to affected populations and
ongoing decision-making delays hamper critical preparedness
activities in advance of further anticipated displacement. End
summary.

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

2. UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) report that some
internally displaced persons (IDPs) are returning to areas of origin
in pockets of eastern North Kivu province following a lull in major
military activity. However, sporadic clashes have resulted in some
new displacement in Rutshuru territory. In addition, several
communities displaced since May and June further north in Lubero
territory have yet to receive assistance due to general insecurity
and unpredictable access.

3. Relief agencies reported as of late September varying degrees of
population returns to Nyamilima and Vitsumbi towns in the Rutshuru
area and to Sake in Masisi. An interagency assessment mission to
Nyamilima September 17 cited three reasons for the initial returns:
the departure from the area of troops loyal to renegade General
Laurent Nkunda from the mixed Bravo Brigade; the start of the school
year; and the beginning of planting season. On September 21, USAID
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) field staff
observed increased market activity in Sake following the withdrawal
of Nkunda's troops three days earlier to positions three kilometers
from the town (REFTEL). The vast majority of residents, though, had
not yet returned. In contrast, the NGO German Agro Action (GAA)
reported the return of 1,156 families to Vitsumbi from Kanyabayonga
in the Rutshuru area.

4. Although UN reports indicate that Nkunda's troops have
reportedly pulled back from some positions in Rutshuru and Masisi
territories, thus allowing some populations to return, periodic
clashes between Nkunda, pro-government, Democratic Liberation Forces
of Rwanda (FDLR), and Mai-Mai troops continue to uproot communities
in Rutshuru area. A mid-September rapid assessment by the NGO
Solidarites identified the arrival of 4,800 displaced families in
Kabaya from Inkokwe following fighting between Nkunda and
pro-government elements. Solidarites is planning additional
assessment missions to verify the size and needs of the displaced
population and to determine appropriate response activities.

5. In southern Lubero territory, a preliminary assessment by GAA
identified 6,010 families, or approximately 30,050 people, who are
living with host communities and have yet to receive humanitarian
assistance since being uprooted by fighting in May and June. The
GAA team met with local officials and IDP representatives between
September 18 and 20 and estimates that 2,586 families in Luofu,
1,061 families in Kamandi, and 2,363 families in Kanyabayonga
require immediate assistance. Armed conflict and banditry have

KINSHASA 00001141 002 OF 003


obstructed access and prevented sufficient relief efforts to date.


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

6. Relief activities are ongoing for displaced populations from
Masisi and Rutshuru territories in Goma-area settlements. The UN
World Food Program, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Solidarites,
Caritas, and the International Medical Corps are providing emergency
relief supplies and essential food, water, sanitation and hygiene,
health, nutrition, and protection services for more than 13,000
families near Goma. Solidarites is preparing to construct latrines
and distribute relief commodities for 2,114 displaced households in
Mushaki, Masisi territory, on September 25 and 26.

7. While coordinated response efforts are addressing priority needs
of IDPs currently in the Goma area, government authorities and the
humanitarian community have yet to identify additional sites for the
current and potentially growing IDP population. An unknown number
of families originally from the Rutshuru area, temporarily displaced
to a settlement in Munigi, are now distributed between the Munigi
area, Bulengo camp 15 km west of Goma, and an unofficial site
between Bulengo and Goma. Occasional skirmishes in the Masisi and
Rutshuru areas, plus anticipated continued conflict, indicate a need
for additional preparedness activities, including the identification
of possible new settlement areas.

8. The government has approved the expansion of the Bulengo site to
15 hectares, increasing the physical capacity of the camp to up to
15,000 people. UNHCR appears hesitant, however, to exceed 12,000
people at Bulengo, and relief agencies agree on the need for
additional sites. As of September 24, a representative from the
Ministry of Regional Integration stated that local officials are in
the process of documenting the need for additional sites, a process
required to begin identifying possible locations.

9. Regarding response efforts to displaced, vulnerable, and
conflict-affected populations beyond the Goma area, OFDA field staff
note that UN and NGO agencies are beginning to conduct needs
assessments and evaluate security and humanitarian conditions where
access allows. As of September 21, several interagency and NGO
teams were planning visits, or in the process of visiting, Kichanga,
Mweso, Kalembe, Mushaki, Masisi, and Sake in Masisi territory;
Kabaya in Rutshuru territory; and Minova in South Kivu province.
While tenuous security and banditry continue to hinder reliable
access and limit humanitarian response efforts, these initial
assessments will prove useful in identifying potential relief
activities if security and access permit.

10. To support additional response and preparedness efforts, OFDA
has arranged for the purchase and transport of emergency relief
supplies for 100,000 people, scheduled to arrive in Goma beginning
September 24. The supplies include blankets, plastic sheeting,
water containers, kitchen sets, soap, and biscuits, and will be
provided to UNICEF for distribution to affected households.

------------
COORDINATION
------------

11. Humanitarian coordination has begun to improve following a
clear division of activities between UNHCR and other UN agencies and
NGOs. Earlier overt tension at the daily coordination meetings has
diminished, and all operational UN and NGO agencies are in the
process of developing a camp coordination and management strategy,
facilitated by a visiting UNHCR representative from Geneva.

KINSHASA 00001141 003 OF 003

12. On September 21, OFDA staff engaged in a frank discussion with
the UNHCR country representative on the source and impact of recent
infighting within the humanitarian community in Goma (REFTEL). OFDA
staff also urged UNHCR to take the necessary steps to speed up the
process of identifying and approving additional settlement sites and
recommended that UNHCR review its rapid response capacity, including
rapid funding mechanisms and partner relationships. The UNHCR
representative indicated plans to reinforce significantly the Goma
team with additional staff from Kinshasa, and the Geneva delegate
announced the reorganization of the Goma-level UNHCR team at the
September 24 coordination meeting. OFDA staff encouraged the UNHCR
representative to be mindful of the impact of different distribution
methods on individuals' decisions to stay at settlement sites or
return home.

13. COMMENT: While the decision to divide responsibilities along
camp lines has led to reduced tension among relief agencies, OFDA
staff note that the resulting switch to more camp-based registration
and commodity distributions at Bulengo may encourage non-displaced
families from nearby areas to set up huts at Bulengo in order to
receive assistance, and may further discourage displaced households
from returning to areas of origin when security conditions improve.
END COMMENT.


BROCK

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