UN Humanitarian Chief Amos ends visit to DR Congo with call for stronger response

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 08 Aug 2012

(Goma/New York, 8 August 2012): The United Nations top humanitarian official, Valerie Amos, today visited Kanyaruchinya, a public site on the outskirts of Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where some 30,000 people have settled.

Ms. Amos met people who had trekked for days as they fled fighting between the national army and armed groups. Many families had left their homes with nothing and were living in extremely difficult conditions - with some forced to sleep out in the rain.

“It is heart-breaking to see people, particularly children, living in these terrible conditions. We are doing everything we can to help them but it is an uphill task,” she said. For example, the site has no water so this has to be trucked in every day.

Ms. Amos saw hundreds of people, particularly women, lined up to receive food and other relief items. She also visited a health centre where more than 140 people are treated every day. Everyone she spoke to said they wanted the fighting to stop so they could return home.

Since April, over 220,000 people have been displaced within the province, while an additional 57,000 have fled to Rwanda and Uganda.

While the crisis is most acute in the Kivus, other parts of the country continue to face major humanitarian challenges. Food insecurity and malnutrition are growing in Katanga, Kasai Orientale and Equateur provinces. Cholera remains a major health concern with close to 20,000 cases recorded since January 2012. Over 2.2 million people are internally displaced in DRC, and two-thirds of them live in North and South Kivu provinces.

While insufficient funds, insecurity, and poor roads are hampering the relief efforts, aid organizations remain active in North Kivu. Ms. Amos praised the work of the staff on the ground, who are working to get help to as many people as possible. “There were limited services at this site and they have had to start from scratch to try to get basic supplies to people. It is down to their efforts that we have been able to respond,” she noted.

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