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Congo-Kinshasa: Aid for people fleeing North Kivu

09-11-2007 News Release 07/18

In close conjunction with the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the ICRC has organized a distribution of emergency supplies for over 1,300 families (about 6,500 people) who have been driven from their homes in North Kivu into the Kalehe area of neighbouring South Kivu, some 40 km north of Bukavu.

The operation should last from 8 to 12 November.

The armed clashes that have been continuing in North Kivu for over two months are having disastrous consequences. Many thousands of people have sought refuge between Minova and Nyabibwe in South Kivu. Their displacement means leaving vital resources behind and arriving largely empty-handed in a place of refuge, so both the displaced people and the local communities now hosting them have been living in increasingly difficult conditions.

" To help the families meet urgent needs, we're providing them with basic items, including clothing, blankets, mats, soap, hoes, buckets and kitchen sets, " explained Patrick Walder, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Bukavu.

The ICRC is sending supplies to the medical facilities to enable them to deal with the influx of displaced people. The hospital in Minova regularly receives ICRC supplies, while Kalehe hospital and the health-care centre in Nyabibwe receive various items when required. Each facility has been sent a special kit for the treatment of war-wounded people and essential medicines for the care of rape victims.

The ICRC remains extremely concerned about the depredations being committed against the civilian population by bearers of weapons: rape, pillage, summary executions and forced recruitment of minors. It reminds all parties to the armed conflict of their obligation under international humanitarian law to respect the life and health of civilians, the wounded and persons captured in connection with the conflict. They also have a responsibility to facilitate both access by humanitarian organizations to people in need and t he activities of those organizations once in place.

For further information, please contact:
  Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Kinshasa, tel. +243 81 700 85 36
  Danielle Larrabee, ICRC Goma, tel. +243 81 036 68 12
  Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17