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DR Congo: Funding appeal to boost emergency aid in east

07-05-2013 News Release 13/85

Geneva/Kinshasa (ICRC) – With people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo reeling from an upsurge in conflict and other armed violence over the last few months, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is stepping up its emergency humanitarian aid in the region.

"The acts of violence perpetrated against civilians are extremely worrying. They are forcing thousands of people to flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs," said Peter Maurer, the president of the ICRC. "Not only are the fighting and other violence affecting entire communities, they are also having an impact on the activities of health personnel, who are unable to provide care for all who need it. People who have suffered a serious injury – a knife or gunshot wound, for example – or sexual violence need quality care provided in a timely manner. The ICRC now needs increased support from its donors so that it can bring aid to tens of thousands of people in the east of the country."

The ICRC is asking for an additional 10 million Swiss francs (8.2 million euros), which will bring the organization's total budget for its activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to more than 68 million francs (over 56 million euros). The ICRC's operation in the country is one of its five largest in the world in budgetary terms.

"The additional funding will enable us to increase the emergency aid needed by tens of thousands of the most severely affected people," said Mr Maurer, who has just completed a visit to the country, where he travelled in particular to Goma in North Kivu. "Considerable logistical resources are required to travel to certain hard-to-reach areas, where some of these people are barely managing to survive. We have to help them regain their ability to meet their everyday needs."

Because people wounded in the fighting – civilians and military personnel alike – are becoming ever more numerous in the Kivus, the ICRC recently sent complete surgical teams which it intends to keep there over the long term. The ICRC teams are working closely with the staff of several health-care facilities to improve the quality of care and to better manage the transfer of the most serious cases to referral hospitals in Goma and Bukavu.

The ICRC plans to open a new office in a part of Katanga province that has been experiencing a resurgence of armed violence. ICRC staff based there will provide emergency aid for displaced people, and build contacts with the armed forces and armed groups in the area in order to foster dialogue on respect for international humanitarian law.

To cope with the increasing number of people detained, the ICRC will step up its visits to places of detention and – together with the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, its main partner in the country – its efforts to restore contact between family members separated by fighting or other violence.

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

Download new footage on the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo from our video newsroom.


Photos

ICRC staff distribute emergency supplies to people suffering the consequences of the DRC's conflicts. 

Democratic Republic of the Congo.
ICRC staff distribute emergency supplies to people suffering the consequences of the country's conflicts.
© ICRC / D. Revol

A nurse from the surgical team provides post-operative care for a man wounded in the fighting. 

N'Dosho Hospital, Goma, DRC.
A nurse from the surgical team provides post-operative care for a man wounded in the fighting.
© ICRC / C. Delfosse

After fighting damaged the water network, ICRC water and habitat teams worked with the local water management committee to make repairs. 

Kitshanga, DRC.
After fighting damaged the water network, ICRC water and habitat teams worked with the local water management committee to make repairs.
© ICRC / C. Delfosse / v-p-cd-e-01840

A woman views the sorry state of the house she fled as fighting approached. Women are often the main victims of the conflicts in the east of the DRC. 

Kitshanga, DRC.
A woman views the sorry state of the house she fled as fighting approached. Women are often the main victims of the conflicts in the east of the DRC.
© ICRC / C. Delfosse / v-p-cd-e-01849

Thousands of displaced people took refuge in this village after the residents fled the fighting. To prevent the spread of disease, volunteers from the DRC Red Cross cleaned up the areas where the displaced people had been living, in preparation for the return of the residents. 

Kitshanga, DRC.
Thousands of displaced people took refuge in this village after the residents fled the fighting. To prevent the spread of disease, volunteers from the DRC Red Cross cleaned up the areas where the displaced people had been living, in preparation for the return of the residents.
© ICRC / C. Delfosse / v-p-cd-e-01859