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Democratic Republic of the Congo: ICRC assists over 4,700 displaced families in Kalehe Territory

18-03-2006 News Release

This press release was issued by the ICRC delegation in Kinshasa.

Kinshasa (DRC) – From 15 to 17 March 2006, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) distributed assistance to 4,718 displaced families that had fled the fighting in the Kalehe area, about 90 kilometres north-west of Bukavu.

In the wake of the deteriorating security situation on the Kalehe high plateaux, in particular in Bunyakiri and the surrounding area, most of the region’s civilians had left their villages for Kalehe. They lost most of their belongings on the way, and were given refuge by families in Minova, near the South Kivu region.

According to Giuliano Vascotto, the head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Bukavu, " the situation of the displaced people is a source of concern, and unfortunately they cannot go home because of the lack of security. The bad weather that is common at this time of year makes them even more vulnerable. "

The ICRC has provided humanitarian assistance in the form of cooking utensils, blankets, mats, buckets, clothes, soap and hoes. Together with UNICEF, it has also distributed plastic sheets.

The ICRC will continue to monitor the humanitarian situation of the displaced and developments in the security situation in the region, via regular contacts with the authorities, weapons bearers and civil society.

The ICRC also reiterates to all the armed protagonists of the situation that they have a duty to respect the civilian population under international humanitarian law.

The ICRC is a neutral and independent humanitarian organization with a mandate to assist and protect the victims of war. It has been present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1978.

 For further information:  

 Giuliano Vascotto, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Bukavu  

 Tel: + 243 (0) 81 036 69 60  

 Valéry Mbaoh, communication delegation, ICRC Goma  

 Tel: + 243 (0) 81 036 68 12