DR Congo

WFP says more people need food aid in eastern DR Congo

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United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it needs 46 million dollars to enable it continue with its humanitarian operation in Eastern DRC to the end of next year. Patrick Maigua sent us this report from Geneva.

According to the World Food Programme, renewed fighting and massive displacement of people in eastern Democratic republic of Congo had substantially increased its food aid requirement in region.

Director of WFP's Geneva office Charles Vincent says the situation in the region was getting desperate as food aid was not reaching those in need due to bad roads and attacks on relief convoys by rebel groups. He says up to 200,000 people have been displaced in the province of North Kivu since August this year. The region is also witnessing increased malnutrition among children and there have been reported cases of deaths due to hunger.

"Access remains our paramount concern for both WFP and other relief agencies. Many of the places worst affected are only reachable with the escort of MONUC which is not possible to do on a daily basis because they have their own mandate and priorities. Some of our commercial contractors are refusing to go to some of the area simply because at any cost it simply does not make economic sense for them. That is why it is so important to have some type of political forward movement and that fighting subsides so that people can go back to their fields and cultivate, they will need seeds and tools that will be critical for the next agricultural season, so that we can reach people and malnutrition rates go down."

He says the humanitarian situation in there region is bleak but is hopeful of donor support despite the global financial crisis. WFP estimates that up to 2 million people have been displaced in North Kivu province up from an estimated 600,000 a year ago and are in need of food assistance.