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Update No. 96/13 on ICRC activities related to the Zairian crisis

09-12-1996 Operational Update

After having had to leave both Kindu and Kisangani, eastern Zaire, last week, owing to the deteriorating security situation, an ICRC team on Sunday was able to fly to Shabunda, east of Kindu, from Lubumbashi. An ICRC delegate located between 8,000 and 10,000 Burundian and Rwandan refugees, originating from the camps around Uvira, who had recently arrived in the area. Most of the refugees were in very bad condition, suffering from diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition. There are indications that large groups of women, children and elderly people are in the surrounding forest regions under very difficult living conditions. At this stage, the ICRC will concentrate its efforts on ensuring the survival of the refugees it has located. To this end, emergency food, in the form of protein biscuits, and medical supplies will be flown in as from today. However, the ICRC does not want its activities to favour the establishment of new camps and is discussing with the authorities and the UNHCR the future of these populations.

However, in the Goma area access to Rutshuru and Masisi continues to be blocked and authorizations are very difficult to obtain.

The ICRC delegation in Bukavu has been strengthened further and now consists of nine expatriates. Waystations are being organized for those of the 1,000 Zairian displaced located near Walungu, north-west of Bukavu, who wish to return to Bukavu.

Thanks to fuel supplies organized by the ICRC in Uvira, the water pump station is up and running six hours a day and supplying the town with water.

In Rwanda, ICRC delegates are preparing for a possible influx of refugees from camps in Tanzania. As in the past few weeks, ICRC efforts will concentrate on tracing, especially regarding unaccompanied children, and on providing transport and ready-to-eat food to the most vulnerable of the returnees.