DR Congo

DRC: Inter-agency mission to assess IDP situation nationwide

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NAIROBI, 24 January (IRIN) - An inter-agency mission will begin a two-week tour on Monday to assess the situation of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with a view to devising strategic plans to overcome the country-wide problem, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The country has an estimated 2.4 million IDPs according to the 2003 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal. OCHA said on Thursday that the recent withdrawal and demobilisation of foreign troops in the DRC had led to significant changes on the ground: certain areas previously inaccessible were now reachable for humanitarian organisations, and that might encourage the return of IDPs. Conversely, increased insecurity in other areas due to renewed fighting between Congolese armed groups was hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid to vulnerable populations and resulting in further displacement and increased protection problems.

Agencies and institutions with either a humanitarian or recovery/reintegration mandates have been invited to participate. They include the UN Development Programme, the UN Children's Fund, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Others are the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Habitat, the UN Mission in the DRC, the World Food Programme, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UN World Health Organisation, the International Organisation for Migration and the Red Cross Movement, as well as representatives from the NGO community and donors.

The UN IDP Unit conducted two preliminary missions - 7-10 October 2002 in Kinshasa and 1-7 December 2002 in Kinshasa and eastern DRC - to explore the conditions and scope for an inter-agency mission on internal displacement in the country.

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