DR Congo

Britain sends aid flight to DR Congo

The UK is set to fly emergency humanitarian aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help people affected by the recent fighting, International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, announced today.

The 90-tonne shipment will be made up of around 18,000 blankets, 11,000 plastic sheets and 24,000 plastic water buckets and some six million water purification tablets.

The supplies will be sent to Entebbe in Uganda on Wednesday and transferred to Goma on smaller aircraft.

The goods will go to people who have been forced to leave their home and are in need of immediate assistance. The supplies will be distributed by UNICEF and NGOs, who have signalled that there is not enough stock to meet demand in the worst affected areas.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has humanitarian advisors on ground and is monitoring the situation closely. The UN estimates that over 1.6 million people are now displaced across the DRC. Over 900,000 are displaced in North Kivu, with around 55,000 people forced to leave their home in the last week alone.

On Friday, the International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, announced an additional =A35 million in humanitarian aid in North Kivu. This brings the total humanitarian assistance that DFID is providing this year in DRC to =A342 million.

International Development Secretary, Douglas Alexander, said:

"The situation in the DRC remains extremely grave. Over 900,000 people have been forced to leave their home in North Kivu and there is now an urgent need for food, water and shelter. That is why DFID is sending an emergency aid flight to ensure much-needed supplies get to those men, women and children most at risk."

Notes to editors

1. The aid flights will travel from the United Arab Emirates and be unloaded at Entebbe, Uganda. Goma is a small airport and flights in and out are subject to daily changes in the security situation on the ground. The relief items will be moved onwards in smaller aircraft, which can carry about 15 tonnes at a time.

For further information, contact Matt Wells on 020 7023 1840, e-mail m-wells@dfid.gov.uk or call our Public Enquiries Point on 0845 300 4100.