Humanitarian community continues to roll out aid to people affected by recent events in North Kivu

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 09 Dec 2012

(Goma, 9 December 2012): The Humanitarian Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr Moustapha Soumaré, visited Goma on 8 December to gain first-hand information on the humanitarian situation and the protection of civilians following the recent fighting between the Congolese army (FARDC) and the M-23 armed group. The recent violence and insecurity caused by other armed groups pushed tens of thousands of people from their homes and created large-scale humanitarian needs.

Since 19 November, more than 130,000 people have been displaced in and around Goma and are currently living either with host families, or in camps and spontaneous sites, or in public buildings. More than 47,000 people have also fled southwards, with thousands arriving in the Minova region of South Kivu.

In Goma, Mr Soumaré visited the Mugunga III IDP camp which was attacked by armed men on 2 December. During the attack, the perpetrators robbed and looted newly distributed food, essential household items, and medicine from several families. Several women suffered sexual violence and promptly received medical care. Mr Soumaré discussed the various challenges and living conditions with the IDPs’ representatives, as hundreds of people were lining up at food distribution points. The IDPs stressed the urgent need to re-establish security in their home areas to facilitate their return. While acknowledging the life-saving assistance that they’ve received so far, they pled for additional aid.

« I am grateful to the humanitarian actors who stayed in Goma and continued to deliver aid to the most vulnerable populations during the peak of the crisis. Since the lull in fighting, they have scaled up their interventions to respond to the urgent needs of thousands of affected people by providing food, potable water, health and other essential services and commodities. However our primary concern remains the protection of civilians throughout the province which remain highly unstable. Without minimal security guarantees, it is difficult for us to work. We want to avoid at all cost that the aid we deliver will not expose the beneficiaries to attacks by armed elements” said Mr Soumaré.

Daily life is slowly resuming in Goma in a highly unpredictable climate. The airport, which was closed for two weeks, has re-opened a significant development for the humanitarian response, notably in terms of shipping aid and transporting personnel. Mr Soumaré seized the Goma trip to airlift several tons of medicine and therapeutic milk that will be used to treat some 30,000 people during one month and malnourished children. Numerous schools remain closed as they have been looted or are occupied by displaced families.

Since April 2012, North Kivu is the scene of fighting between the FARDC who have battling the “M23” and numerous other armed groups on several fronts, maintaining the province in a cycle of volatility and threatening the stability of neighbouring provinces.

As of 7 December, the humanitarian community had received USD 443 million, representing 56 per cent of the $791-million appeal for the 2012 Humanitarian Action Plan.

“Despite the substantial generosity of a number of donors who pledged additional funds to meet the emergency needs caused by the recent deterioration of the situation, more funds are still needed to ensure an adequate response” concluded Mr Soumaré.

For further information, please call:

Yvon Edoumou, OCHA-DRC, +243 97 000 3750/ 82 242 6342, edoumou@un.org,
Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, +41 79 472 9750, larke@un.org
Amanda Pitt, OCHA New York: +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 442 1810, pitta@un.org
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.