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Democratic Republic of the Congo: ICRC activities between January and September 2006

30-09-2006 Operational Update

 Restoring family links  

Despite improvements in available means of communication, many people still rely on Red Cross messages for news of their loved ones. The ICRC offers this service only for those who have no other way of contacting family members.

Between January and September 2006, the ICRC:

  • collected 70,965 and distributed 65,502 Red Cross messages;

  • reunited 516 children, including 238 former child soldiers, with their families;

  • arranged for treatment for 532 unaccompanied children, including 153 former child soldiers;

  • received 525 new tracing requests, processed 759 requests (406 of which were resolved positively), while 645 remained pending.

 Detention visits  

Between January and September 2006, the ICRC:

  • conducted 126 visits in 29 places of detention;

  • monitored 5,636 detainees, including 114 newly-registered detainees;

  • collected 5,932 and distributed 4,104 Red Cross messages;

  • regularly provided soap for 4,455 detainees;

  • regularly provided food for 636 detainees;

  • provided basic medicines for seven prisons that it visited regularly.

 Assistance  

 Health care  

Between January and September 2006, the ICRC:

  • supported 17 hospitals (where 34,158 medical consultations were given, including 3,193 in internal medicine, 5,690 in gynaecology and obstetrics and 4,374 in paediatrics), nine health-care centres (where 18,558 curative consultations were given, including 9,761 for women, and 13,194 pre- and post-natal consultations) and four limb-fitting centres (where 809 patients, including 641 amputees, were given prostheses or orthoses);

  • delivered 16,560 vaccination doses;

  • organized 279 education sessions in the health-care centres;

  • performed 3,461 surgical operations;

  • cared for 244 war-wounded people;

  • organized five performances (attended by 6,500 people) of a play intended to raise awareness of the problems faced by – and to promote better care of – victims of sexual violence;

  • assisted 461 victims of sexual violence who visited the health-care centres; 62 were given the ômorning afterö pill and received preventive treatment against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases;

  • arranged for 571 victims of sexual violence to receive counselling from ICRC-trained personnel;

  • trained 50 volunteers from the South Kivu Congolese Red Cross to raise awareness of the problems faced by victims of sexual violence and to direct them to suitable health-care facilities.

 Emergency aid  

Many families that lost all because of the conflict are struggling to survive and to be able to provide for themselves again. In the Eastern Province and in the provinces of Katanga and North and South Kivu:

  • 36,132 families (131,795 people in all) received blankets, clothing, tools, tarpaulins, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, soap, buckets, kitchen utensils and salt;

  • 5,152 families (25,760 people in all) in 161 farming associations received seed and agricultural implements, along with agricultural training;

  • 2,380 families (11,900 people in all) in 45 fish-farming associations received fishing equipment, along with training in fish farming.

  • the renovation of the National Aquaculture Service station in South Kivu will pave the way for a doubling of tilapia production by the end of 2006.

 Aid for farmers and fish farmers  

The ICRC has focused its activities on four main areas:

 Seed production:  

In South Kivu:

  • 5,500 families (28,000 people in all) in 160 farming associations received 5,943 kg of sweet potato, manioc, peanut, bean and rice seed, and 2,250 agricultural implements;

  • 700 families received onion, amaranth, cabbage and aubergine seed, tools and training;

  • training in seed production was organized in cooperation with the National Seed Service.

In North Kivu:

  • maize, manioc and peanut seed was distributed to associations;

  • 400 families received instruction and guidance in vegetable production with the aim of improving the local population’s diet.

 Fingerling and commercial fish production:  

  • 1,200 families (6,00 0 people in all) in 35 fish-farming associations received fish-farming equipment along with instruction in fish-farming techniques;

  • 60 associations in North Kivu received guidance in the production of fingerlings, which were subsequently purchased by the ICRC and distributed to other associations.

 Fighting the manioc mosaic virus:  

  • 600 families (3,000 people in all) in 20 farming associations received 600 kg of bean and peanut seed, 800 agricultural implements and 25,000 linear metres of manioc cuttings tolerant to manioc mosaic disease. At the end of the crop cycle, the manioc cuttings produced were distributed locally to fight against the spread of the disease;

  • healthy cuttings, resistant to mosaic virus, were distributed to 30 farming associations in North Kivu, enabling them to sow fields with a surface area of 45 hectares.

 Support for State bodies:  

  • the ICRC supported a project of the National Institute for Studies and Research in Agronomy identifying plant varieties most suited to the conditions in South Kivu;

  • the expansion of the Nyakabera fish-farming station increased the capacity of the National Aquaculture Service to produce fingerlings and to meet the needs of fish farmers throughout South Kivu province.

 Water  

The ICRC cooperates with specialized local bodies to improve people’s access to clean drinking water:

  • with the national water authority it has embarked on six major projects (two of which have already been completed) benefiting an estimated 500,000 people in urban areas;

  • with the National Rural Hydraulics Service it launched 12 projects (four have been completed and one has been postponed) for some 300,000 people in rural areas;

  • it has begun three projects to renovate health-care centres;

  • it is carrying out two projects to upgrade water systems and improve hygiene and access to clean drinking water in prisons.

 Spreading knowledge of international humanitarian law  

 National and international authorities:  

  • in the framework of the implementation of international humanitarian law, the ICRC is examining the possibility of helping the authorities to draft a bill on small arms and light weapons;

  • it held 14 information sessions for 178 representatives of local and provincial authorities;

  • it played an active role in the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action of the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre, in conjunction with all humanitarian agencies involved in this field.

 FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo):  

  • the ICRC held three sessions promoting international humanitarian law for 308 senior officers during the third and fourth promotion courses (part of the FARDC’s in-service training programme) at the higher military academy;

  • it held two sessions for 100 instructors in Kamina, also as part of the FARDC’s in-service training programme;

  • it held two sessions for 200 officers and NCOs of the Garde républicaine;

  • it held 28 sessions for 2,855 officers and NCOs in various “brassage” centres, in which former combatants from different regions are trained and reintegrated into one new national army unit;

  • it held 40 sessions for over 1,130 officers and NCOs of the various military regions;

  • it held six sessions for over 180 members of armed groups;

  • it held 22 sessions for 536 officers, NCOs and soldiers of various operational units.

 National police force and security forces:  

  • the ICRC set up a pilot programme for teaching humanitarian principles and human rights, and organized seven sessions for 578 officers of the Unité de la police intégrée;

  • it held 26 sessions for 2,094 members of the national police;

  • it held one session for 25 agents of the Agence nationale de renseignement (security police)

 Civil society:  

  • the ICRC held 17 awareness-raising sessions for some 900 civilians and produced 24 press releases, two newsletters and 11 radio/TV items;

  • it held six awareness-raising sessions in three universities and sponsored a professor’s attendance at a pan-African course in Burkina Faso;

  • it held three workshops and seven information sessions for 224 journalists;

  • it held three sessions for 73 members of development and human rights NGOs;

  • it held four sessions on international humanitarian law and prosecuting international crime for 170 members of the judiciary.

 Cooperation with the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo  

The ICRC supported the following activities:

  • an extraordinary session of the National Society’ central committee;

  • eleven statutor y meetings (one of the central committee and 10 of the provincial assemblies);

  • travel to the provinces by 60 senior national staff to monitor activities;

  • the construction of four offices for provincial committees and the renovation of two others;

  • publication of the December-March issue of Échos de la Croix-Rouge (10,000 copies);

  • humanitarian activities (distribution of aid) and festivities related to World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day;

  • twenty-two briefing sessions for 330 provincial managerial staff, first-aid workers and information officers who attended national workshops;

  • four national workshops for 38 provincial managers (heads of the provincial divisions within the “information and communication” and “relief and disaster preparedness” departments and provincial Red Cross message coordinators);

  • two workshops for the supervisors of 18 micro-projects in the field of water and sanitation;

  • nine team-leaders’ workshops for 360 trained first-aid workers and 28 training sessions for 672 first-aid workers;

  • two meetings on the problem of sexual assault attended by the National Society, the ICRC and the International Federation;

  • material and financial support for the activities of the head office and the provincial committees.