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Democratic Republic of the Congo: ICRC president visits Kinshasa and Goma

22-04-2013 News Release 13/74

Geneva/Kinshasa (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, is currently visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to assess and be in a position to report to the international community on the humanitarian situation in the country.

Mr Maurer arrived in the capital, Kinshasa, yesterday. He will later travel to Goma, in the east of the country. During his visit, which will end on 25 April, the ICRC president will meet with senior government officials and with leaders of the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The primary topics will be the consequences in humanitarian terms of the country's conflicts, and the ICRC's operations to meet the most urgent needs of the people directly affected.

"In North and South Kivu, thousands of people are enduring the effects of large-scale displacement and serious violations of international humanitarian law on a daily basis amid nearly universal indifference," said Mr Maurer. "In Katanga and Eastern Province, there has also been a resurgence of violence. My visit must serve to draw attention to the plight of people weakened by years of high-intensity conflict."

The ICRC is pressing ahead with the activities it carries out in the country for people wounded in the fighting, people suffering physical or psychological trauma caused by sexual violence, children separated from their close relatives, thousands of displaced people, and detainees. Since January, some 50 casualties have been taken to medical facilities by ICRC staff, and several dozen others by local Red Cross volunteers. During the same period, more than 530 war patients have been operated on by ICRC surgical teams in North and South Kivu. The ICRC is also maintaining its support for water supply systems in several cities and for health-care centres, which it supplies with medicines and other medical items.

The ICRC opened its delegation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo 35 years ago. It is currently carrying out its activities across the country from offices in Kinshasa, Goma, Bukavu, Beni, Uvira, Dungu, Kisangani, Lubumbashi and Kananga, and from outposts in Kirumba, Masisi, Walikale, Fizi, Lulingu and Minembwe.

For further information, please contact:
Annick Bouvier, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Carla Haddad Mardini, ICRC Geneva, tel:+41 22 730 24 05 or +41 79 217 32 26
Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 60 or +41 79 536 92 58