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Update No. 96/11 on ICRC activities related to the Zairian crisis

02-12-1996 Operational Update

The area in Eastern Zaire affected by the conflict seems to grow daily. Although the ICRC now has access to more locations in Eastern Zaire, many cities and large groups of people in desperate need of humanitarian protection and assistance remain out of its reach. 

For the first time since the recent events, an ICRC team from Goma managed to get through to Rutshuru. Another team went to Minova where 5,000 refugees and displaced have gathered. On 29 and 30 November some 10,000 refugees crossed each day the border from Goma into Rwanda. Most of these people arrived from the Minova and Sake area.

In Kisangani, the situation has been unclear with some looting and related violence. On the road between Kisangani and Walekale a joint evaluation mission to Lubutu by the ICRC, Unicef and MSF had to be postponed.

In Kindu, the ICRC is setting up a logistic base. A group of 300 Zairian displaced have been assisted with food and non-food items in the town and 15 unaccompanied children are currently being looked after.

A Zairian Red Cross truck with ICRC relief supplies left Kindu for Shabunda. A small ICRC aircraft landed in Kalima, on the road between Kindu and Shabunda, to hand over relief items to the local Red Cross which is assisting some 500 displaced people. Additional relief goods will be transferred this week to Kindu by the ICRC-chartered Hercules aircraft.

In Bukavu, the ICRC supports the hospital with surgical equipment, medical material and medicine and will continue this form of assistance during the next few months. Medical supplies will also be provided to seven health facilities in the town, three of which are run by the Red Cross Society of Zaire.

The ICRC has not yet received the green light for its assessment of the situation in Uvira.

ICRC delegates from Lubumbashi reached Kalemie in Northern Shaba where over 8,000 displaced people have sought shelter. Assistance will be organized for them from Lubumbashi.

In Rwanda, the ICRC continued its programme on behalf of unaccompanied children. In all, the ICRC has transported 4,540 unaccompanied children from Gisenyi to different prefectures in Rwanda (as shown in the breakdown below). A total of 1,076 children were first taken from Goma and other locations to Gisenyi. The vehicles used consisted of ICRC trucks and buses provided by Save the Children Fund UK, IOM and the UNHCR.

Breakdown of destinations of children from Gisenyi: 

Ruhengeri: 709 children

Kigali: 1,743 children 

Gitarama: 377 children

Kibungo: 39 children

Kibuye: 15 children 

Byumba: 581 children