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Democratic Republic of the Congo - ICRC concerned by the worsening humanitarian situation in North Kivu

06-09-2007 News Release 07/99

Kinshasa/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is extremely concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in North Kivu following the resumption of hostilities in the province, where tens of thousands of displaced persons risk being forced once again to flee the combat zones.

The ICRC reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligation to comply with the provisions of international humanitarian law (IHL), which demand respect for the lives and well-being of civilians, the wounded and people captured in connection with the conflict. They are also responsible for protecting infrastructure essential to the survival of the population, such as drinking water reservoirs, health facilities and hydroelectric power stations. Furthermore, they are required to make it possible for humanitarian organizations endeavouring to assist the victims to reach them and to carry out their work.

In accordance with its mandate to protect and assist the victims of armed conflict the ICRC is currently working to meet the most urgent needs of the wounded.

From the first days of the hostilities, the ICRC has been providing medicines and surgical supplies to health facilities in Goma, Masisi and Kitchanga. ICRC surgeon Franco de Simone has been sent to Goma to assist the doctors there with the most serious cases.

“The ICRC is doing all it can to get into the area and help all the wounded,” stated Mr de Simone.

At this stage, it is still difficult to asses the consequences of the new crisis for people who have been displaced, but it is to be feared that they will have serious difficulties meeting their basic needs. The ICRC is endeavouring to obtain security guarantees from the parties to the conflict, so that it can evaluate the situation of the people affected and meet the most urgent needs.

For further information, please contact:
  Danielle Larrabee, Communication Delegate, ICRC Goma, tel: +243 81 036 68 12
  Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, Communication Coordinator, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 34 43 or +41 79 251 93 18