Update No. 96/5 on ICRC activities in Zaire
15-11-1996 Operational Update
After several days of shelling on the Mugunga camp west of Goma, a mass of people from the camp has started moving towards Goma and may cross the border into Rwanda. The ICRC and many other humanitarian organizations are making emergency preparations in Gisenyi, Rwanda, to be able to cope with a possible massive influx of people.
Current ICRC activities
The ICRC has obtained authorization from the Zairian civil aviation authorities to operate its own aircraft within Zaire. Flight plans for flights to several destinations in Kivu province have been submitted to the authorities in Kinshasa. This morning, an ICRC-chartered C-130 Hercules transport plane loaded with relief goods took off from Nairobi and flew to Kisangani via Kinshasa.
The general situation in Goma is becoming increasingly critical, with food, fuel and especially medical supplies running low. There have been unconfirmed reports of cases of cholera at the general hospital. The ICRC sub-delegation in Goma has been restaffed and is supporting the more than 500 volunteers of the Zairian Red Cross who have been active in Goma since the emergency began, collecting and burying the dead, providing medical assistance and organizing garbage collection.
As a result of talks held with the leadership of the rebels, the ICRC has been given permission to resume activities in the general hospital in Goma. The green light for the ICRC to work in the hospitals in Bukavu and Uvira is expected to be received shortly. A field hospital provided by the Norwegian National Society is on stand-by in Nairobi and will be placed where need ed most.
To carry out a large-scale humanitarian operation, the ICRC will be needing large numbers of medical personnel. The ICRC is therefore urging Participating National Societies to have staff ready who can be called up at very short notice.