• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

UNHCR flies vital shelter aid to North Kivu for displaced Congolese

News Stories, 13 November 2008

© UNHCR/ D.Nthengwe
UNHCR workers unload components of a Rubb hall from the chartered flight at Goma Airport today (Thursday).

GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 13 (UNHCR) A UNHCR-chartered aircraft carrying vital shelter aid for thousands of displaced civilians arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) troubled North Kivu province on Thursday.

The flight touched down in the provincial capital, Goma, after leaving Entebbe Airport in Uganda earlier in the day carrying 1,500 bales of plastic sheeting and three giant portable warehouses, known as Rubb halls, from UNHCR's regional stockpile in Dubai.

The halls will be used as accommodation for some of the more than 67,000 people currently sheltering in two camps in the town of Kibati, which is located just north of Goma, after fleeing fighting between government soldiers and troops loyal to renegade general, Laurent Nkunda.

A day earlier, a six-truck convoy arrived in Goma from UNHCR's aid warehouse in Ngara, Tanzania, carrying 3,525 pieces of plastic sheeting, 2,652 kitchen sets, some 20,220 blankets and 20,200 sleeping mats. The refugee agency had already transported non-food items for some 50,000 people to Goma from Ngara.

The latest items will help ease the plight of the 65,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Kibati I site and the 2,600 IDPs in Kibati II, which are located just two kilometres from the frontline of the opposing military forces.

"What we have received and what we are distributing to displaced families is still short of actual needs. We hope relief goods will continue to arrive at this pace until all displaced families have been assisted," said Ibrahima Coly, head of the UNHCR sub-office in Goma.

The UNHCR airlift on Thursday came as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a major distribution of non-food items including some stock from UNHCR's Goma depot to the displaced in both Kibati camps. This followed a food distribution by the World Food Programme.

The aid distributions have been warmly welcomed by newly arrived IDPs such as 35-year-old Juliana. "I do not believe what I see," said the mother of five, who had fled to Kibati from the village of Rugari to the north. "We have suffered without blankets or sleeping mats," she added.

Meanwhile, the North Kivu provincial authorities and aid agencies are looking at ways to move the IDPs in Kibati to safer areas, further away from the frontlines.

"We are going to ask the population at Kibati to voluntarily move to Mugunga III, where we have enough space and security," said provincial official, Patrice Lumumba, referring to a proposed new IDP site to the west of Goma with a capacity of up to 22,000 people.

UNHCR and its partners are looking at issues such as infrastructure, sensitization of the IDPs to a move, transportation of the IDPs, registration and security. "The security of displaced persons is our priority and we plan to conduct the exercise within a week," said UNHCR's Coly.

Fighting in North Kivu intensified at the end of 2006. By January 2008, it had brought the total number of IDPs in the region to more than 800,000. Since the fighting resumed in August, some 250,000 civilians have fled, many of them already displaced.

By David Nthengwe in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

DR Congo Crisis: Urgent Appeal

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

Donate to this crisis

Emergency Response

UNHCR is committed to increasing its ability to respond to complex emergency situations.

Shelter

One of the first things that people need after being forced to flee their homes, whether they be refugees or internally displaced, is some kind of a roof over their head.

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Shelter for the Displaced in Yemen

The port city of Aden in southern Yemen has long been a destination for refugees, asylum-seekers and economic migrants after making the dangerous sea crossing from the Horn of Africa. Since May 2011, Aden also has been providing shelter to tens of thousands of Yemenis fleeing fighting between government forces and armed groups in neighbouring Abyan governorate.

Most of the 157,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) from Abyan have found shelter with friends and relatives, but some 20,000 have been staying in dozens of public schools and eight vacant public buildings. Conditions are crowded with several families living together in a single classroom.

Many IDPs expected their displacement would not be for long. They wish to return home, but cannot do so due to the fighting. Moreover, some are fearful of reprisals if they return to areas where many homes were destroyed or severely damaged in bombings.

UNHCR has provided emergency assistance, including blankets, plastic sheeting and wood stoves, to almost 70,000 IDPs from Abyan. Earlier this year, UNHCR rehabilitated two buildings, providing shelter for 2,000 people and allowing 3,000 children, IDPs and locals, to resume schooling in proper classrooms. UNHCR is advocating with the authorities for the conversion of additional public buildings into transitional shelters for the thousands of IDPs still living in schools.

Photographer Pepe Rubio Larrauri travelled to Aden in March 2012 to document the day-to-day lives of the displaced.

Shelter for the Displaced in Yemen

Uprooted by the Lord's Resistance Army

Renewed attacks this year by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo have led to the forced displacement of thousands of civilians. At least 33 villages have been attacked since January by the Ugandan rebel group, including 13 in March alone. More than 4,230 people have been displaced, some of them for the second or third time. These internally displaced people (IDP) are living with host families or in IDP settlements in and around the town of Dungu in Orientale province. They rely on the hospitality of the local population as well as humanitarian assistance from organizations such as UNHCR. The dearest hope of everyone in the region is to live in safety and peace. Some 335,000 people have been displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of LRA violence since 2008.

Uprooted by the Lord's Resistance Army

UNHCR resumes return operation for 43,000 Angolans in DR Congo

The UN refugee agency has resumed a voluntary repatriation programme for Angolan refugees living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Some 43,000 Angolans have said they want to go back home under a project that was suspended four years ago for various reasons. A first group of 252 Angolan civilians left the UNHCR transit centre in the western DRC town of Kimpese on November 4, 2011 They crossed the border a few hours later and were warmly welcomed by officials and locals in Mbanza Congo. In the first two weeks of the repatriation operation, more than 1,000 Angolan refugees returned home from the DRC provinces of Bas-Congo in the west and Katanga in the south. Out of some 113,000 Angolan refugees living in neighbouring countries, 80,000 are hosted by the DRC.

UNHCR resumes return operation for 43,000 Angolans in DR Congo

Turkey: Biggest Camp OpensPlay video

Turkey: Biggest Camp Opens

The new refugee camp in Suruc, southern Turkey can provide shelter for 35,000 people, making it the largest camp in the country. Families are arriving from some of the most conflict-affected areas in Syria.
Lebanon: The Elderly And The Young In The StormPlay video

Lebanon: The Elderly And The Young In The Storm

In Lebanon, a winter storm is taking its toll on the elderly and the very young, despite continued aid distributions. There are 402,000 registered refugees in the Bekaa Valley, who live in every conceivable type of shelter, although some are more vulnerable than others.
Lebanon: Surviving the SnowPlay video

Lebanon: Surviving the Snow

Since the Syria crisis began almost four years ago, more than 1.1 million Syrians have sought shelter in Lebanon. Around 400,000 of them live in north-east Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, an area that has been swept by bitterly cold storms and blanketed in storm. Aid organizations have been helping the vulnerable to survive.