DR Congo

First British aid flights arrive in Eastern Congo

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Two planes carrying urgent humanitarian relief items from the UK have arrived in Goma, Eastern Congo, with additional flights expected to land in the coming days. The essential goods are to help those affected by the recent fighting in the African country.

Today's flights contained approximately 5,350 plastic sheets, 6,470 water containers and some 1 million water purification tablets. They are part of a 90 tonne load of aid from the UK which will assist hundreds of thousands of people who have been forced to flee their homes.

The supplies will replenish UNICEF stocks and will be distributed by UNICEF and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who have signalled that there is insufficient stock to meet the growing demand in the worst affected areas. The UN estimates over 1.2 million people have been displaced in North Kivu since September.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said:

"These are the first of six flights carrying much needed relief items from the UK to those in urgent need in the DRC. While finding a political solution is vital, the UK stands ready to provide humanitarian support as further assessments are made."

The Department for International Development (DFID) has humanitarian advisors on the ground and is monitoring the situation closely. As part of its =A35m relief aid package, the UK will also be providing =A32m to the World Food Programme for food aid for those affected by the crisis. The money will be used to purchase large-scale emergency supplies of pulses, maize, sugar, oil and cereals to help feed the hundreds of thousands currently in need.