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Democratic Republic of the Congo: rushing priority aid to those who need it most

04-11-2008 Operational Update

The fighting that raged in the province of North Kivu during the last week of October has stopped for now, but tens of thousands are still on the move. The situation is catastrophic, for everyone in the region. Those who have fled have had to abandon everything.

   
  ©Reuters    
 
Displaced people who fled the fighting gather at a makeshift camp near Kibati    
       
   
 
   
     
Download full map - pdf 280 kb 
   
©Reuters/L. Neuhaus 
 
A displaced man near Goma, 2 November 2008 
      
 
General situation 
 

The situation in Goma has been calmer since the weekend. In the north, however, around Rutshuru and south of Kanyabayonga, the situation is still unstable. The calm can therefore be described as precarious and the situation could easily deteriorate again very rapidly.

The humanitarian situation is as worrying as ever, with large numbers of displaced people gathering in camps around Goma (Kibati), on the road between Nyamilima and Ishasha (near the border with Uganda) and in South Lubero (north of Rutshuru).

 
Needs 
 

Needs include water, food, shelter and medical care. These people have been worn down by the numerous displacements they have been through these past years. Many had already had to flee this year.

Security is also a vital need, both for the population (resident and displaced) and for aid workers. Without security, we cannot reach the people who need our help

 
ICRC response 
 

The ICRC's priorities are to help the displaced and care for the wounded. To achieve this, the ICRC is working with the Red Cross Society of the DRC and other Movement components.

 
Displaced people 
 
Water 
 
  • The ICRC is trucking clean drinking water into Kibati IDP camp for around 20,000 people.
  • Today, a truck with a 5,000-litre bladder tank will attempt to make three round trips to Kanyarutshina, to start filling three existing 10,000-litre reservoirs (built by the ICRC in earlier years) situated in a school and in a church.
  • Tomorrow, the ICRC will attempt to make a total of three trucks available to step up the distribution operation. This work is being carried out in cooperation with the local branch of the Red Cross Society of the DRC.
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Relief 
 

Since Sunday, the ICRC has been endeavouring to provide the displaced with emergency supplies that correspond as closely as possible to their needs.

 

 
  • Kibati camp had a population of approximately 20,000 displaced people before the latest wave of displacement. It now houses more than three times that number and its infrastructure can no longer cope. People need tarpaulins to make shelters plus latrines.
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  • Further north, ICRC staff arrived in Ishasha on Monday to assess the needs of people displaced from the Rutshuru area towards the north-east (near the Ugandan border). Food supplies will start arriving as soon as the team has completed its assessment. Estimates as to the number of displaced people in this area range from 30,000 to 70,000.
  • In South Lubero (in the Kirumba area), another ICRC team from Béni is assessing the needs of both residents and displaced people, and will be maintaining a permanent ICRC presence in the area. There will be considerable need for assistance in Ishasha and South Lubero, and this need will continue for several months.
  • An ICRC team from Bukavu, South Kivu, is making its way towards the Minova camp (towards North Kivu) to assess the needs of the displaced people there.
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Wounded 
 

An ICRC surgical team is at work in Katindo Hospital (Goma). An anaesthetist and a ward nurse will join the team on Monday 10 November.

 
Detainees 
 

The ICRC has delivered firewood to Goma prison so that food can be cooked for the inmates.

 
Security/presence of humanitarian organizations 
 

Because of the security situation, there are still very few humanitarian organizations on the ground.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Pierre Emmanuel Ducruet, ICRC Kinshasa, tel. +243 81 700 85 36  

 Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 79 217 3217