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Congo-Kinshasa: ICRC activities from January to March 2007

11-05-2007 Operational Update

An overview of the ICRC's humanitarian activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the first quarter of 2007.

2007 is a year of hope for all Congolese. The first democratic elections since independence constitute a true step forward and could put an end to a long period of instability and insecurity in the country. However, a great many people are still suffering the consequences of past conflicts and persistent violence. Humanitarian needs remain enormous, especially in the east.

The ICRC is pursuing its activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in accordance with its mandate to assist the victims of conflict and internal violence and to protect their lives and dignity. Nearly 530 expatriate and local staff work out of its delegations in Kinshasa, its sub-delegations in Goma, Bukavu, Lubumbashi and Kisangani and its offices in Uvira and Kalemie.

 


 
Protection 

  Restoring family links  
© ICRC / Wojtek Lembryk / cd-e-00592 
 
Katanga Province, suburb of Moba. A Red Cross volunteer distributing Red Cross messages.
   
     

During the first quarter of 2007, the ICRC continued its usual work to restore links between family members separated by conflict or other situations of violence or by their direct consequences. People who had no other means of restoring or maintaining links with their families were given the opportunity to use the Red Cross message network run with the help of the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In areas where it was present, the ICRC continued to identify unaccompanied children, including former child soldiers, in order to put them back in touch with and – if it was in the interest of the children to do so – reunite them their families.

  • 16,119 Red Cross messages were collected and 14,664 distributed

  • 61 unaccompanied children, including seven former child soldiers, were reunited with their families

  • Efforts were made to resolve 522 cases of unaccompanied children, including 111 former child soldiers

  • 135 tracing requests were processed, 44 with positive results; efforts were made to solve a further 538 cases and 95 new requests were received

 Visits to people deprived of their freedom  

To promote humane treatment and conditions of detention in keeping with Congolese law and minimum international standards, the ICRC continued to visit people deprived of their freedom in permanent and temporary places of detention, mainly in Kinshasa and in the east of the country.

Detainees who come under the ICRC's mandate and are considered as particularly vulnerable are monitored throughout the entire period of their detention. These include people arrested and detained in connection with an armed conflict or other situation of violence or for reasons having to do with State security.

In accordance with its standard working procedures, the ICRC repeats its visits to detainees and holds private interviews with them while maintaining a confidential and constructive dialogue with the detaining authorities. From January to March 2007:

  • 44 visits were carried out in 20 places of detention

  • 979 Red Cross messages were collected and 937 distributed in places of detention

The ICRC also continued to distribute soap, basic medicine and food supplements to the most vulnerable detainees whenever needed while constantly reminding the authorities of their duty to meet the needs of all people deprived of their freedom.

    

 Protection of civilians  

In the eastern provinces, where civilians are still affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence, the ICRC strove to assist them and to safeguard their lives and dignity by talking with bearers of weapons and promoting respect for humanitarian law and principles.

 

 
Assistance 
 

 Health  

The ICRC continued to provide support for health centres and hospitals, for its own limb-fitting, surgical and physiotherapy programmes and for those set up for rape vic tims.

The ICRC supported seven health centres in North and South Kivu. These centres:

  • gave 7,033 consultations (including 2,504 for women), 3,999 vaccinations and 2,282 prenatal and postnatal consultations and held 71 community-health education sessions

The ICRC supported nine hospitals in Kinshasa and North and South Kivu. These hospitals:

  • gave 12,649 consultations (including 5,365 for children under 15 and 5,034 for women)

  • performed 1,138 surgical operations

  • admitted 2,852 patients (including 1,047 children under 15 and 1,060 women)

  • treated 224 war-wounded

  • gave consultations to 148 rape victims (of these, 39 who arrived within 72 hours of the rape received preventive care)

 Physical rehabilitation programme  

 
© ICRC / Wojtek Lembryk / cd-e-00597 
 
Kinshasa, physical reeducation centre supported by the ICRC. A long walk to recovery.
   
    The ICRC renewed its service-provision contracts with five physical rehabilitation centres in the country ­– the Kalembe Lembe prosthe tic-orthotic centre and the rehabilitation centre for the physically disabled, both in Kinshasa; the Saint Jean Baptiste de Kansele hospital in Mbuji-Mayi; the Heri Kwetu centre in Bukavu; and the Shirika La Umoja centre in Goma. All these centres provide high-quality physical rehabilitation for civilian and military war-wounded.
  • 239 patients received treatment, including 188 amputees

  • 173 new patients were fitted with prostheses and 45 with orthoses

  • 207 prostheses and 80 orthoses were manufactured

  • 253 crutches were distributed

 Emergency relief  

Agricultural and fish-farming programmes were set up for thousands of families in Katanga, Orientale and North and South Kivu who lost everything in the conflict and are now struggling to survive.

  • 8,200 families (40,000 people in all) received essential items (blankets, clothing, tools, tarpaulins, mats, mosquito nets, soap, buckets and kitchen utensils)

  • 3,290 farming families received seed and farming tools and/or training

  • 720 families belonging to 24 fish-farming associations received equipment and/or training

 Water  

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

In North Kivu the ICRC:

  • Began rehabilitation work on the Pinga water-supply system (13,000 beneficiaries)

  • Built a new pumping station in Keshero that will supply water for districts in Ndosho and Katindo (100,000 beneficiaries)

  • Extended the Kirumba water-supply system to Kayina (50,000 beneficiaries)

In South Kivu the I CRC:

  • Laid water mains in five villages in Langala (25,000 beneficiaries)

  • Provided a system for improving water quality (ventilator + pressurized filter) in the town of Uvira, in Kalundu (15,000 beneficiaries)

  • Laid a water main in Burini, in Mwenga territory (6,200 beneficiaries)

  • Repaired 23 wells in the Ruzizi plain (12,000 beneficiaries)

In Katanga the ICRC:

  • Rehabilitated the Kongolo water-production unit (56,500 beneficiaries)

  • Drilled 14 boreholes in Kabalo territory and fit them with handpumps (24,000 beneficiaries)

  • Built 10 wells in five villages around lake Upemba (20,000 beneficiaries)

 
Promoting international humanitarian law 
 

The ICRC continued to promote awareness of international humanitarian law (IHL) among bearers of weapons, the authorities and the general public.

    

 National and international authorities  

  • An information session was held for 55 representatives of the local authorities of Sake, in Masisi (North Kivu)

 Armed forces  

  • 569 officers attended awareness events at brassage centres

  • 1,040 officers serving in operational units attended awareness events

  • An awareness event was organized for 110 senior officers of the fifth graduating class at the Groupement des Ecoles Supérieures Militaires

  • Six awareness events were organized for 1,124 officers of the Garde Républicaine

 National police and security forces  

  • Three sessions on humanitarian principles and human rights were held for 334 members of the national police

 MONUC forces

  • A presentation on the ICRC and IHL was given to the MONUC contingent based in Kalemie

 Civil society  

  • Awareness events were organized for law students at the universities of Goma, Uele, Isiro and Kananga

  • Two sessions on IHL and the repression of international crimes were held for magistrates and lawyers

  • Seven press released were distributed to the local media

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

During the first quarter of 2007, the ICRC provided financial support and technical assistance in the following areas:

    

 Implementation of statutes  

  • Six elective general assemblies were organized and governance training was provided for 60 members of the newly elected committees

 Restoring family links  

  • To ensure the smooth running of the National Society's tracing service, the ICRC provided financial support for three national coordinators, 16 provincial coordinators and 319 volunteer messengers

  • The ICRC donated eight motorcycles and 5 repair kits to provide mobility for tracing volu nteers

 Emergency preparedness and response  

  • 11 volunteers were trained as first-aid instructors

    

    

 For further information, please contact:  

 Wolde Saugeron, ICRC Kinshasa, tel. +243 81 700 60 60/61 or +243 099 831 32 82  

 Email:  kinshasa.kin@icrc.org