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UN agencies concerned about deteriorating violence, humanitarian situation in DRC

English.news.cn   2012-11-21 06:15:50            

GENEVA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of already internally displaced people (IDP) in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been forced into new displacement over the past five days due to escalating fighting, an UN spokesman said Tuesday.

One of the major displacement was that some 60,000 people who used to live in the Kanyaruchinya camp, near to North Kivu's provincial capital Goma, left it due to insecurity, said Jens Laerke, spokesman with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In response, humanitarian agencies had identified three sites in Goma where they will be able to receive most of the new IDPs; however, humanitarian assessment missions scheduled for Monday were cancelled following renewed fighting around Goma, Laerke said.

He said the tension has made humanitarian aid increasingly difficult in both North and South Kivu, along with a surge in humanitarian needs.

More than 2.4 million people have been internally displaced in the country as a result of violence and conflict, and 4.5 million people country-wide have been suffering from food insecurity, according to OCHA.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that 60 percent of IDPs in DRC were women and children and across the country one million children under the age of five were expected to suffer from acute malnutrition.

Rupert Colville, spokesman of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay is deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation of civilians in eastern DRC.

The advances made by the M23 rebel group over the past few days have been accompanied by a significant number of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed against civilians, particularly those fleeing the combat zones, he said.

UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has issued an advisory, urging governments not to forcibly return people to North and South Kivu pending meaningful improvement in the security and human rights situations, said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards Tuesday.

UNHCR also cautioned against returning them to safer parts of DRC, unless they had strong and close links there, he said.

Since the beginning of this year, renewed conflict in the two provinces had exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation and uprooted close to 650,000 people, including 250,000 newly displaced in North Kivu and 339,000 others in South Kivu since April.

Over the same period more than 40,000 people had fled to Uganda, and 15,000 to Rwanda; and Burundi had been receiving around 1,000 new Congolese arrivals every month since August, according to the UNHCR.

Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson of the World Food Programme (WFP) said that WFP helped 447,000 people in North Kivu and operations needed to be suspended in some places where violence significantly impaired their ability to act.

It's hoped that these will be put back in place as soon as the situation has calmed, she said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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