DR Congo

Britain pledges £2 million food aid for Democratic Republic of Congo

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The UK will provide £2 million food aid for those affected by the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, announced today.

The donation - which will be given to the World Food Programme and distributed via its wider humanitarian efforts - will be enough to provide emergency rations for almost half-a-million people for over two weeks.

It will be used to buy large-scale emergency supplies of pulses, maize, sugar, cooking oil and cereals, to help feed those caught up in the fighting.

Many families among the 1.6 million forced to flee their homes face starvation unless they are helped immediately, after fleeing their crops during the planting season.

Meanwhile, almost 90 tonnes of aid from the UK are due to arrive in the DRC tomorrow (Saturday), containing around 8,000 blankets, 11,000 plastic sheets, 24,000 plastic water bottles and one million water purification tablets.

The supplies have already arrived in Entebbe in Uganda, and will be transferred on to Goma in the DRC on smaller aircraft.

Douglas Alexander said: "The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is still very serious and the British Government remains committed to helping the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children caught up in the fighting.

"I am pleased to announce this £2 million in food aid, which will help those most in need get through the crisis.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and hope that our efforts will help stop the crisis from escalating."

The £2 million food aid money is part of a £5 million package announced by the UK Government to help those caught up in the fighting.

The donation will be made to the World Food Programme (WFP), to cover immediate food needs in North Kivu, Eastern DRC.

In total, DFID is providing £42 million in aid to DRC this year.

The UN estimates that over 1.6 million people are now displaced across the DRC.

Up to 100,000 more are estimated to have fled their homes this week alone, meaning up to 1.2 to 1.3 million people in North Kivu are now homeless.

Note to editors

1. The food aid is enough to buy 2,900 tonnes of maize, which would provide a 15 day ration for over 474,00 people.

2. Stocks of food which could be used in the food aid package have been identified in Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and South Africa.

For more information call the DFID press office on: 0207 023 0600