DR Congo

UN aid official reports "dire" humanitarian conditions in eastern DR of Congo

A senior United Nations official today described as "dire" the humanitarian situation in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than 500,000 people were displaced amid continuing clashes between the different groups vying for control of the territory.
UN Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ross Mountain, who is on a humanitarian assessment mission in the area, reported that civilians were offered no protection and were in fact targeted by all parties to the conflict, which has left most of them homeless, according to a UN spokesman.

Mr. Mountain warned that humanitarian assistance was urgently needed to ensure the civilian population's survival, but that access was difficult, with 50 percent of the people in need living in inaccessible areas.

At the same time, Mr. Mountain said that discussions with the parties had been positive and that all sides understood the need to assist populations regardless of their location. The UN mission had received commitments from both sides to the Principles of Engagement for Emergency Humanitarian Assistance, which are used to guide relief operations throughout the country.