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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Civilians again trapped by the fighting

01-03-2013 News Release 13/34

Geneva/Kinshasa (ICRC) – As fighting has resumed in the east of the country in North Kivu, especially in Kitchanga (Masisi territory) and in the territory of Nyiragongo, north of Goma, ICRC teams are gearing up to assist civilians and the wounded.

In Kitchanga where a battle has been raging since Wednesday, a shell explosion near Saint- Benoît Hospital wounded patients and staff. According to Fréderic Boyer, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Goma, the ICRC is "deeply concerned about the fate of these people. It is already an enormous challenge for the residents of Kitchanga and people living in the region to obtain adequate care, because medical centres lack equipment and qualified staff and there are few hospitals."  

Although there is nothing to suggest that the hospital was deliberately targeted, the ICRC draws attention to the fact that medical personnel, hospitals, dispensaries and other medical facilities must be spared from attack at all times.

ICRC teams have provided surgical treatment for more than 26 war-wounded civilians and soldiers from Kitchanga.  ICRC surgeons are working tirelessly at N'Dosho hospital in Goma, where additional tents and beds have been set up in order to boost its capacity to care for the injured from various conflict zones in North Kivu.

The ICRC is very worried about the thousands of civilians who are now fleeing from the combat zones. These people must be treated with respect and protected and their property must be safeguarded. ICRC teams are closely monitoring the situation in order to be able to assist the most vulnerable people who are bearing the brunt of these clashes.

For further information, please contact:
Thomas Glass, ICRC Goma, tel:+243 81 700 77 86
Marie-Servance Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 60 or +41 79 536 92 58