DR Congo

Thousands of civilians in eastern DRC affected by renewed violence and diseases

Patrice Bogna
Recent military clash near Goma causes displacements of thousands of civilians:

MONUC-Goma conducted a joint assessment mission to Kiwanja, Kisharu, Buramba and Nyamilima, in the Rutshuru Territory, at about 120 Km Northeast from Goma, from 12 to 13 July. The mission aimed to assess the conditions of local populations as well as the overall security situation following a military clash between a joint Mayi-Mayi/FDLR combatants and Government forces in the area. The team noted the displacement of about 65 000 people. The deployment of MONUC forces to the area continues to encourage a gradual return of the IDPs. MONUC humanitarian Section has initiated talks with relief agencies in the region in a bid to mobilize adequate resources to assist the IDPs while facilitating their return and subsequent reintegration.

Polluted water causes increase in waterborne diseases in IDP camp near Beni:

MONUC-Beni visited an IDP camp hosting over 1 300 people at 12 Km Northwest of Beni, on 11 July. The mission aimed primarily to verify information suggesting a marked increase in waterborne diseases in the camp, affecting 24 people, mostly children. The disease is expected to expand rapidly as IDPs rely on polluted water from a nearby river without medical assistance or hygiene guidance. MONUC humanitarian Section has initiated an advocacy campaign targeting relief agencies, including OXFAM-GB, for the provision of potable water and medical assistance to the IDPs.

MONUC helps address Trypanosomiasis disease near Mbuji-Mayi:

Several reports suggesting a Trypanosomiasis disease in the district of Tshilenge, at about 60 Km from Mbuji-Mayi, prompted MONUC humanitarian Section to organize a joint assessment mission to the affected area on 11 July. According to medical sources, 16 people affected by the disease have been hospitalized, and 24 others receive treatment at home because of insufficient space facilities at the hospital. Local health authorities informed that Trypanosomiasis kits have been dispatched to all health centers in the endemic area along with periodic fumigation exercises as part of efforts to contain and eradicate the disease. MONUC through its humanitarian Section donated 35 mattresses to the local hospital to help improve the conditions of admitted patients.

MONUC and health organizations gear up to improve immunization coverage targeting children in inaccessible areas of Eastern Kasaï:

MONUC facilitated the transportation of vaccines and related materials from Kananga to Mbuji-Mayi, Eastern Kasaï Province, as part of preparations for the 2005 immunization campaign in the region. Local health authorities and partners are gearing up to review and improve existing strategy for the measles and polio vaccination campaign in the inaccessible northern district of Sankuru. The area is reportedly home to 1.3 million people, mostly children and the vaccination coverage in key areas is reportedly weak because of access difficulties attributed to extremely poor road conditions. UNICEF has pledged to strengthen the administration of Vitamin A supplement to children during the vaccination exercise, which will start on 25 July.

Thousands of Congolese returnees in Mongwalu need humanitarian assistance:

MONUC participated in a joint mission to Mongwalu on 11 July to assess the conditions of over 3 000 IDPs who have returned to the area. The team noted a marked improvement in the security situation following the deployment of MONUC troops in the area. Local authorities have requested MONUC humanitarian Section to advocate and facilitate the delivery of assistance to the returnees whose conditions remain precarious. Formerly home to some 80 000 people, the town of Mongwalu has now about 30 000 inhabitants.