DR Congo

Norway steps up its assistance to eastern DR Congo

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No.: 118/08

Norway is increasing its emergency assistance to war-torn eastern DR Congo by an additional NOK 50 million. Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim will visit DR Congo next week.

Despite growing international pressure on the parties to the conflict, the hostilities are continuing in the eastern part of the country.

The human suffering caused by the conflict is immense, and the many people who have been forced to flee their homes are particularly severely affected. It is estimated that over a million people are internally displaced. There are new reports of child soldiers being recruited, and outbreaks of cholera are increasing.

"It is crucial that the international community provides rapid assistance to the victims of this crisis. This has now become one of the worst humanitarian disasters since the Second World War. We have been assured by the UN and by NGOs in the area that the assistance is getting through. The additional funds will be used to help victims of gender-based violence and to provide protection for children, among other things. In this way, Norway will be helping to save lives," Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre commented.

"First and foremost, the crisis must be resolved politically by the Congolese themselves, in collaboration with their neighbouring countries. But Norway and the rest of the international community must also play a role. That is why I am going to DR Congo and Rwanda for political talks," Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim said.

With the additional NOK 50 million, this year's humanitarian assistance to eastern DR Congo will total around NOK 144 million.

Press contacts:

For Foreign Minister Støre: Head of Communications Bjørn S. Jahnsen, mobile phone +47 971 64 843

For Minister of the Environment and International Development Solheim: Head of Information Trond Viken, mobile phone +47 992 18 303