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Congo-Kinshasa: update on ICRC activities in the Kivus - September 2007

17-09-2007 Operational Update

The ICRC is endeavouring to meet the needs of civilians displaced by a resumption of heavy fighting between government forces and armed opposition groups.

 

Situation from a humanitarian viewpoint 
  North Kivu

Le Temps / ICRC / cd-e-00327 
 
At least 40,000 people have allegedly been displaced by recent fighting. 
     
  • Fighting broke out in North Kivu, particularly in the Masisi territory, at the beginning of September. The conflict then seemed to spread to other areas such Rutshuru and northern Masisi. Despite a pause in the hostilities in Sake, sporadic clashes are continuing. The situation is extremely worrying for people everywhere in the province.

  • Fighting in Sake, about 30 km from Goma, caused almost all the residents to flee to the Goma area. Despite the ceasefire in Sake, people are not returning. Humanitarian organizations estimate their number at 50,000, but it is difficult to confirm this figure since many of the displaced are dispersed in host families, churches and abandoned lots. And many families seek a safer place to spend the night but return to their homes in the daytime.

  • There is very little information about the Rutshuru area owing to its inaccessibility and the destruction of its telephone network.

  • According to the information available to the ICRC, the medical facilities in Masisi, Goma and Kitchanga are receiving the largest number of war-wounded people.

  • For the moment, most of the roads out of Goma (Sake-Masisi, Sake-Kitchanga, et Goma-Rutshuru) remain too insecure for aid organizations to be able to enter those areas and assess needs.

 South Kivu  

  • Like North Kivu, South Kivu has been affected by the fighting. The northern part of the province, in particular Minova and surrounding area, are receiving a large number of people fleeing the fighting in Masisi. The authorities in Masisi, Nyabibwe and Kitembo have recorded the arrival of some 4,000 new families, these in addition to the large number of displaced people received there during previous fighting earlier in the year.

  • Pressure has increased on the health-care system owing to the influx of people fleeing the area affected by fighting.

 
ICRC repsonse 
 The ICRC has contacted all the warring parties, reminding them of their obligation under international humanitarian law to respect the lives and physical and mental integrity of civilians, of wounded combatants and of persons captured in connection with the conflict, as well as their obligation to spare facilities indispensable to the survival of the civilian population and to facilitate access by and the work of humanitarian organizations seeking to help those affected by the fighting.
 

 North Kivu  

 

O Globo / ICRC / cd-e-00281 
 
People can walk several days to get out of harm's way. 
     

 Medical activities: The ICRC swung into action as soon as hostilities erupted. On 15 September, five health-care facilities in Goma, Kitchanga, Masisi and Matchumbi received supplies from the organization (the last two care of Médecins Sans Frontières Belgium). At Katindo military hospital in Goma, an ICRC surgeon is assisting staff with the most serious cases. Other facilities receiving serious cases are being encouraged to transfer them to the military hospital, where the ICRC has a constant presence. The health of some wounded people in places of detention is also being monitored by ICRC staff.

The following aid was provided.

 Katindo Military Hospital in Goma  

  • a kit for treating war wounds

  • a continuous supply of medicines and other items

  • treatment by an ICRC physiotherapist and distribution of crutches

  • installation of a tank with a capacity of eight cubic metres which will be kept full by the ICRC and supply the operating theatre, maternity ward and laboratory

  • sheets and blankets.

 Heal Africa hospitals in Kitchanga, Masisi and Matchumbi  

  • a kit for treating war wounds

 Protection: ICRC delegates registered and monitored a number of persons detained in Goma in connection with the conflict and has applied for access to all those detained in this connection.

 The ICRC is concerned about its lack of access to the areas most severely affected by the fighting, a fact that has prevented it from carrying out a precise assessment of the situation and of the needs of displaced people.  

 South Kivu  

  • A survey was carried out along the road leading from Minova to Nyabibwe and emergency supplies were distributed to some 1,500 displaced people on the Kitembo peninsula and to 2,000 others in Nyabibwe.

  • Minova: The ICRC supplied the reference hospital there with a dispensary kit containing 18 key medicines (to be shared with town's health-care post). It also provided a kit for treating war wounds. These kits should enable the hospital and health-care post to deal with a deterioration in the situation.

 
 

 For further information, please contact:  

 Danielle Larrabee, ICRC Goma, tel. +243 81 036 68 12  

 Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Kinshasa, tel. +243 81 700 85 36