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Democratic Republic of the Congo: responding to the most urgent needs in North Kivu

11-07-2012 News Release 12/143

Geneva/Kinshasa (ICRC) – The humanitarian situation and the security of thousands of inhabitants of North Kivu province are becoming increasingly unpredictable and unsettled due to continuing clashes, such as those between the government forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the March 23 Movement (M23).

Over the past few days, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have evacuated 32 war-wounded patients (31 military personnel and one civilian) from the Rutshuru territory for emergency treatment.

"Violence is also occurring in other territories in the province – for example, north of Ntoto, in the Masisi territory, where we evacuated two women in ill health and four war-wounded people by helicopter," said Frédéric Boyer, the head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Goma. "Four children separated from their parents, including a baby whose mother was killed, were also transferred out of the area."

Some 17,500 displaced people in Katoyi, also in the Masisi territory, were provided with tarpaulins, blankets and other emergency supplies on 6 July. In southern Lubero territory, in the north of the province, a war casualty and three people handed over to the ICRC after having been captured were withdrawn to safety by the organization.

"In areas where M23 and government forces are present, some people are now fleeing the fighting, while others are starting to return," said Mr Boyer. "To respond as quickly as possible to the most urgent needs, our health, water and hygiene specialists and other staff are with the people in the cities of Bunagana, Kinyoni, Ntamugenga and Kiwanja, and nearby areas."

To avoid any risk of the cholera outbreak in the Rwanguba area spreading further, the ICRC delivered 15,000 litres of clean drinking water to the local hospital on 8 July and installed two 15,000-litre reservoirs.

The fact that the parties to the conflict recognize the ICRC as a neutral and independent humanitarian organization is indispensable to the action it is taking in behalf of those most in need of help.

In North Kivu province, ICRC delegates also continue to visit people detained in connection with the conflict to assess the conditions in which they are held and the treatment they receive.

The ICRC is still reminding all parties to the conflict of their obligation to spare the injured, the detained and civilians, and their property.

For further information, please contact:
Ananie Kulimushi, ICRC Goma, tel: +243 81 700 77 86
Krista Armstrong, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 31 60 or +41 79 536 92 58