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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Aid for 45,000 returnees in North Kivu

22-05-2006 News Release 06/27

Kinshasa (ICRC) – From 15 to 19 May the ICRC distributed aid to 45,000 people who had returned to their homes in Kibirizi, North Kivu.

As a result of the deteriorating security conditions in and around Rutshuru last February, the local inhabitants fled their villages in large numbers, seeking refuge in the villages of Kanyabayonga, Kayna and Kirumba, in the south of the province, and in Butembo and Béni, to the north. Most of their belongings were lost owing to looting. With the gradual improvement of the situation, nearly 70 per cent of these people have now returned to their villages.

Having conducted several evaluations in the area to determine these people's needs, the ICRC, in consultation with other humanitarian organizations, has now provided the returnees with thousands of kitchen sets and with blankets, buckets, soap, hoes and clothes.

Last March the ICRC gave two health-care centres and the Kirumba hospital enough medical supplies and medicine to last three months. It recently delivered emergency aid to the Kibirizi health centre as well. The four medical facilities have therefore remained operational, reducing the number of patients seeking treatment in Kayna.

The ICRC will continue to monitor the humanitarian and security situation in the area through its contacts with the authorities, weapons bearers and community representatives.

On the basis of its mandate to protect and assist victims of conflicts and other situations of violence, the ICRC reminds all fighting forces in the area of the obligation they have under international humanitarian law to spare the civilian population.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Ruth Kottmann, ICRC Goma, tel. +243 (0)81 036 696 0  

 Sadia Kaenzig, ICRC Kinshasa, tel. +243 (0)81 700 853 6  

 Valéry Mbaoh, ICRC Goma, tel. +243 (0)81 036 681 2  

 Marco Jiménez, ICRC, Geneva, tel. +41 79 217 32 17