DR Congo + 1 more

Solidarites: Our teams are present on all fronts of the humanitarian emergency in east DR Congo

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Since August 28, renewed armed conflict in East DR Congo (North Kivu province) between the national army (FARDC) and general Laurent Nkunda's rebel forces (the National Congress for the People's Defense or CNDP) has caused the displacement of 110,000 people. According to figures issued by the Population Movements Commission and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Goma, 218,600 people have now been on the move for over a year, and are totally exhausted by this continuous upheaval...

This new round of fighting is undermining the peace agreement signed in January 2008. The clashes are mainly concentrated in Rutshuru and Masisi territories, around the areas which were previously under CNDP control. Over the last few days, there have been confrontations in the Tongo, Ntamugenga, and Mweso areas, and finally on the banks of Lake Bitonga. Displaced civilian populations are dispersed among numerous sites and need emergency food aid (food distributions), access to drinking water and basic hygiene facilities.

Despite difficult access (main roads blocked by armed combat), SOLIDARITES, an international humanitarian aid organisation which has been working in East DR Congo since 2000, has been providing aid to over 18,760 families (around 93,800 people in total) since this new outbreak of violence. This aid is made possible by our RRM (Rapid Response Mechanism) programme, in partnership with UNICEF.

SOLIDARITES' main activities are the provision of water as well as sanitation assistance, in areas where overpopulation due to the upsurge of violence results in higher risks of epidemics, as is the case in Rutshuru where 60 new cases of cholera are recorded on average every week. SOLIDARITES and Oxfam GB are currently supplying up to 140,000 litres of water per day to over 15,000 people in the Kanyabayonga area, on the border between the Grand Nord and Petit Nord Kivu regions.

SOLIDARITES is also providing relief for destitute populations in the form of essential commodities (soap, blankets, cooking utensils, mats, tarpaulins for shelter, etc.). SOLIDARITES goes out to meet populations who have often travelled dozens of kilometres, to provide them with protein bars and water. We recently decided to do this when hundreds of people, who had fled armed conflict between Ugandan LRA rebels (Lord's Resistance Army) and the FARDC in Ituri district (Irumu territory), arrived in a state of exhaustion after walking for days, and sought refuge near the towns of Dungu and Erengeti (Haut Uele district),

SOLIDARITES' Rapid Response teams are present on all fronts of the humanitarian emergency in East DR Congo. In North Kivu, our teams are capable of simultaneously carrying out 5 needs assessments and 5 relief operations at 5 different sites.

Needs are very acute and it is difficult to reach vulnerable populations. The international humanitarian response is insufficient, since more population displacements are likely and armed conflict continues on the ground. In less than one month, the number of displaced persons has more than doubled. The situation is still extremely volatile, and we are very concerned about the fate of populations fleeing the violence.

Press contact: Constance Decorde - 01 80 21 05 91 - cdecorde@solidarites.org, to find out more about SOLIDARITES: www.solidarites.org, SOLIDARITES - 50 rue Klock 92110 Clichy-la-Garenne
Tel : 01 80 21 05 62 - Fax : 01 80 21 05 99 - siren 389 515 180