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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Red Cross helps Kisangani residents

25-08-1999 News Release 99/35

An ICRC-chartered aircraft flew in a tonne of relief supplies to Kisangani on Monday 23 August. In response to the fighting that erupted there in mid-August, ICRC staff are supervising relief, visiting persons detained in connection with the events and assessing the security situation together with the various parties to the conflict.

As soon as the ceasefire came into effect on 18 August, the ICRC began working with volunteers from the country's Red Cross Society and staff from the Netherlands branch of Médecins sans frontières to take more than 50 wounded persons — both military and civilian — to the town's 16 hospitals and other health-care centres. ICRC staff meanwhile surveyed the needs of those public and private medical facilities and provided emergency supplies. In all, they counted 131 military and civilian war-wounded patients.

In addition, 80 local Red Cross volunteers helped the ICRC remove the mortal remains of 34 soldiers killed during clashes between Ugandan and Rwandan troops, and Red Cross teams cleaned and disinfected the streets where intense fighting had raged for four days.

Finally, the ICRC evacuated 17 representatives of various United Nations agencies who had been participating in a vaccination programme in the area and were taken by surprise by the Kisangani fighting. With them was a wounded Western journalist.

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