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Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville

Briefing Notes, 23 July 1999

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 23 July 1999, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Reports from UNHCR staff in the Central African Republic indicae that the rate of refugee arrivals from the Democratic Republic of Congo's northern Equateur province slowed yesterday, both in the capital of Bangui and to the east, around the town of Mobaye. Around 14,000 Congolese, including several thousand soldiers, have crossed from the DRC in the past three weeks.

UNHCR has set up a transit centre in the port of Bangui where food, medical care and emergency aid are distributed to refugees. In order to decongest the port, which has received 6,000 arrivals, a first convoy carrying 500 Congolese left yesterday to Bou Bou, a site 350 km from the capital. UNHCR plans to move 5,000 Congolese to Bou Bou over the next two weeks.

UNHCR is not involved in discussions between the CAR and the DRC on the soldiers, most of whom have reportedly given up their arms. This situation has occurred before, when troops entered Zambia with refugees from south-eastern DRC. They later returned to the DRC under an agreement between the governments.

In Gabon, the number of Congolese (Brazzaville) thought to have made their way to the capital, Libreville, stands at 2,000. Overall arrivals for the past 15 days are estimated at 25,000, with the provinces of Nyanga and Haut OgoouT the hardest hit of a half-dozen along the 1,000 km-long border.

Another emergency team member is travelling to Gabon tomorrow as UNHCR staff are working urgently on counts of urban refugees and on the delivery of more aid to the forested border regions. Blankets and cooking supplies will be flown in while soap and food are being purchased on the spot.

UNHCR and other agencies have stressed to authorities that camps should not be established close to the border. The agency's regional Director for West and Central Africa will be travelling to Gabon and the CAR in early August to meet with officials on the new refugee groups.

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DR Congo Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Intense fighting has forced more than 64,000 Congolese to flee the country in recent months.

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UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

As a massive food distribution gets underway in six UNHCR-run camps for tens of thousands of internally displaced Congolese in North Kivu, the UN refugee agency continues to hand out desperately needed shelter and household items.

A four-truck UNHCR convoy carrying 33 tonnes of various aid items, including plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen sets and jerry cans crossed Wednesday from Rwanda into Goma, the capital of the conflict-hit province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The aid, from regional emergency stockpiles in Tanzania, was scheduled for immediate distribution. The supplies arrived in Goma as the World Food Programme (WFP), with assistance from UNHCR, began distributing food to some 135,000 displaced people in the six camps run by the refugee agency near Goma.

More than 250,000 people have been displaced since the fighting resumed in August in North Kivu. Estimates are that there are now more than 1.3 million displaced people in this province alone.

Posted on 6 November 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Since 2006, renewed conflict and general insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province has forced some 400,000 people to flee their homes – the country's worst displacement crisis since the formal end of the civil war in 2003. In total, there are now some 800,000 people displaced in the province, including those uprooted by previous conflicts.

Hope for the future was raised in January 2008 when the DRC government and rival armed factions signed a peace accord. But the situation remains tense in North Kivu and tens of thousands of people still need help. UNHCR has opened sites for internally displaced people (IDPs) and distributed assistance such as blankets, plastic sheets, soap, jerry cans, firewood and other items to the four camps in the region. Relief items have also been delivered to some of the makeshift sites that have sprung up.

UNHCR staff have been engaged in protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs and other populations at risk across North Kivu.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Posted on 28 May 2008

UNHCR/Partners Bring Aid to North Kivu

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

Fighting rages on in various parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with seemingly no end in sight for hundreds of thousands of Congolese forced to flee violence and instability over the past two years. The ebb and flow of conflict has left many people constantly on the move, while many families have been separated. At least 1 million people are displaced in North Kivu, the hardest hit province. After years of conflict, more than 1,000 people still die every day - mostly of hunger and treatable diseases. In some areas, two out of three women have been raped. Abductions persist and children are forcefully recruited to fight. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases have increased as the situation deteriorates and humanitarian agencies struggle to respond to the needs of the displaced.

When the displacement crisis worsened in North Kivu in 2007, the UN refugee agency sent emergency teams to the area and set up operations in several camps for internally displaced people (IDPs). Assistance efforts have also included registering displaced people and distributing non-food aid. UNHCR carries out protection monitoring to identify human rights abuses and other problems faced by IDPs in North and South Kivu.

Displaced in North Kivu: A Life on the Run

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