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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Dongo office closing in Equator province

05-04-2012 News Release 12/75

Kinshasa (ICRC) – The stabilization of the humanitarian situation in Equator province has made it possible for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to close its office in Dongo.

The Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the ICRC's main operational partner in the country, is nevertheless pressing ahead with its humanitarian activities in the town.

"Despite the reduction in violence and the closing of our office, the ICRC will be able to continue to closely monitor the humanitarian situation in the area, thanks to Congolese Red Cross volunteers in the districts of North and South Ubangi," said Andrea Drury, the head of the ICRC office in Dongo.

The office was opened in June 2010 following an outbreak of violence that resulted in the displacement of more than 165,000 people and other serious humanitarian consequences for the civilian population, including the destruction of homes and the impossibility of growing food.

Owing to the displacement, many families were dispersed. Children were particularly affected. After ICRC and Congolese Red Cross tracing services were mobilized, 200 children were reunited with their families.

The ICRC, with support from Red Cross volunteers and the aid recipients, rebuilt over 1,000 shelters. Farming and fishing supplies, rice seed and cassava cuttings resistant to mosaic virus disease were distributed to over 25,000 households to enable them to regain a certain degree of self-sufficiency. More than 1,300 people also took part in ICRC-organized cash-for-work projects, such as repair work on the Dongo landing strip, which also helped develop the local economy.

To promote greater respect for the civilian population, the ICRC has also organized sessions to raise awareness among law enforcement officers and weapon bearers of the main rules of international humanitarian law.

For further information, please contact:
Yves Heller, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 34 43 or +41 79 251 93 02