DRC: UN Humanitarian Chief calls on the international community not to forget the Congolese people
9 August, 2012
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The UN Humanitarian Chief, Valerie Amos, called today for more support for Congolese communities affected by conflict and displacement, at the end of a four-day mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.
In Eastern DRC’s North Kivu Province, nearly a quarter of a million people have been displaced by conflict since April this year. Another 57,000 people have fled to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda since the beginning of 2012.
“While it is clear that there are competing humanitarian demands around the world, we must not forget the people of the DRC,” said Ms. Amos, who is UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. “They are in the midst of one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world and deserve our continued support.”
Yesterday, Ms. Amos visited displaced communities in Kibati and Kanyaruchinya, outside Goma, the capital of North Kivu. She saw for herself how years of violence have affected hundreds of thousands of people in the region. In recent weeks, some 30,000 people have fled clashes between the Congolese army (FARDC) and armed groups, and have sought refuge in the area.
“I spoke with families who have had to leave their homes without any belongings, and are now forced to live in terrible conditions. Some of them, including children and the elderly, have been forced to sleep out in the rain,” she said. “For many, this is not the first time that they have been displaced. All of them hope to see an end to the fighting. They want to return home.”
Ongoing fighting in North Kivu has led to mass displacement of people to neighbouring regions and countries as well. In Rwanda, the Humanitarian Chief visited Kigeme camp, which hosts about 11,500 Congolese refugees. Humanitarian organizations report that some 32,000 people have fled to South Kivu in the past three months alone.
“The events of the past months have marked a setback in our collective effort to break the cycle of violence. The humanitarian community continues to deliver assistance where security permits, but there are thousands of people in need beyond our reach due to ongoing insecurity and poor roads,” said Ms. Amos.
Insufficient funding, insecurity and poor infrastructure are severely hampering relief efforts in North Kivu. Although the humanitarian crisis is the most acute in the Kivus, other parts of the vast Central African country continue to face major challenges including food insecurity, malnutrition and a cholera epidemic.
The humanitarian community has appealed for US$791 million to carry out urgent assistance across the country this year. So far, less than 50 per cent of the required funding has been received.
“I would like to appeal to our international partners on behalf of the displaced and host communities I saw,” said Ms. Amos. “The DRC needs continued attention. The UN and its partners are committed to helping those affected. This requires continued financial support.”