KINSHASA, 5 March (IRIN) - Britain
has donated US $4 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in support of their
efforts to help internally displaced persons (IDPs), according to an official
from the British embassy in the DRC.
Paul Godefroy, the head of cooperation at the embassy in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, told IRIN on Tuesday that the contribution was part of Britain's annual assistance to the DRC, totalling $27 million for the period 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003.
"The $4 million is only a portion of the assistance provided by our government in an effort to support the peace process in the DRC and to help the people of eastern DRC, as well as those affected by war in other regions of the country," he said. He added that the grant was specifically in support of the ICRC's efforts to assist IDPs.
He said the bulk of Britain's $27 million in humanitarian assistance had been credited to the ICRC, UN agencies, and NGOs such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and Caritas. The $4 million was in response to an emergency appeal made by the ICRC in December 2002. "Great Britain wants to show its solidarity with the Congolese people during this difficult period," Godefroy said.
In December 2002, the emergency aid fund of the UK Department for International Development had granted the DRC some $1.16 million towards the cost of medical assistance being provided by MSF in the northern DRC provinces of Equateur and Orientale.
Also in December, a sum of $800,000 was donated to the international NGO Population Services International towards a programme to fight the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, which involved the distribution of 21 million condoms for men and 50,000 for women.
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