Congo

Congo: Many IDPs go unaided as relief supplies dwindle

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NAIROBI, 13 January (IRIN) - Aid agencies in the Republic of Congo (ROC) do not have enough relief supplies to assist the growing number of people displaced as populations in the Pool region have been forced to flee repeated bombings, banditry and attacks on villages, according to the United Nations. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on 10 January that at least 84,000 people had fled fighting that erupted at the end of March 2002 between Ninja rebels and government troops. The exact number of people displaced within the Pool region remained unknown, because aid workers had been denied access to the region while military operations are under way, OCHA said, although best estimates placed the figure at 60,000.
However, "even if there was access, the UN would have problems because of the lack of resources", one UN official told IRIN on Monday. Furthermore, many of the most-recently arrived internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the ROC capital, Brazzaville, had neither been registered, nor had they received any assistance because resources were insufficient.

In December, the UN country team warned that the humanitarian situation in the country could become dire. The World Food Programme has only enough food (rice, peas and oil) to assist people for the next four months, and has already stopped all rehabilitation programmes in order to focus on emergency assistance for those deemed most vulnerable. Meanwhile, the UN Children's Fund and the World Health Organisation expect their emergency stocks to last only one to two months and two-and-a-half months, respectively.

As for prospects for the near future, the UN team in the ROC was not optimistic. "At the moment, no signs of improvement are perceived, meaning that the return of the IDPs in their region cannot be foreseen," it said in its December assessment.

[ENDS]

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