DR Congo

NZ pledges support for Congo humanitarian crisis

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Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that $1 million will be made available from NZAID baselines to support international humanitarian efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"The situation in the Congo, arguably the world's worst humanitarian crisis, has deteriorated dramatically. An upsurge in hostilities in the North Kivu Province has forced an estimated 230,000 to leave their homes. This is in addition to the 800,000 people already displaced by violence," Helen Clark said.

"Civilians have borne the brunt of much of the suffering and many of them have become increasingly dependent on aid for their survival. Malnutrition, a lack of drinking water, attacks against women and a limited ability for aid agencies to get access to those affected are exacerbating an already terrible situation.

"The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, reports that the condition of displaced children and women in particular is desperate. Thousands have had very little to eat since fleeing and access to clean water and health care is minimal. Hundreds of children have been separated from their families, and are now forced to survive on their own.

"This situation demands action from the international community. As a concerned global citizen it is important that New Zealand does what it can to assist to help those most affected by this crisis.

"The support provided through NZAID to the individuals and families affected by the conflict will help ensure basic supplies and services to people at a time of great distress," Helen Clark said.

The Deputy Special Representative to the UN Secretary General in the Democratic Republic of Congo is New Zealander Ross Mountain.