On 3 March the ICRC completed the distribution of 210 tonnes of relief supplies to 4,000 families living in and around Shabunda, in the southern part of South Kivu. As a result of ongoing hostilities in the eastern part of the country, these families were in particular need of help.
Shabunda had long been cut off from the rest of the country owing to the prevailing security situation, which prevented trade with the outside world and limited access to the fields situated around the city. In 2002 the ICRC twice suspended its assistance operations, also for lack of security guarantees. Having recently carried out several missions to assess the needs of the city's estimated 25,000 inhabitants, it has now taken steps to boost farming activities and improve the population's nutritional status.
During the one-week operation, an ICRC-chartered DC 3 made a total of 19 flights to bring in the relief supplies, which consisted of improved groundnut seed (28,000 kg), beans (12,000 kg), sweet-potato cuttings (10,000 kg), maize (4,000 kg), soap (6,400) and iodized salt (3,000 kg). Four thousand kits of vegetable seed, 4,000 hoes and 4,000 basic articles of clothing were distributed as well.
The ICRC began flying in the supplies as soon as the necessary security guarantees had been obtained. Volunteers from the local Red Cross also helped to make the operation a success.
Further information: Carlo Piccinini, ICRC Goma, tel. ++250 0830 0461