DRC humanitarian update

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

An estimated 56,000 Congolese have been uprooted in the latest violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which started on 12 July. Thousands have fled their homes to escape the on-going government military campaign against the Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and their local allies in the South Kivu province.

Many villages in the Moyens Plateaux in Uvira territory are reported to have been deserted as residents fled to the nearby forests and other safe areas. The displaced are concentrated in the hills west of Luvungi and Bwegera, and to the south in the towns of Lumera and Mulenge in the Moyens Plateaux. Large numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) have fled to villages along the Kamanyola-Luberizi road in the Ruzizi plain, near the DRC-Burundi border.

An estimated 30,000 IDPs in the Ruzizi plain are hosted by the local communities. Some families are housing and feeding as many as three to four IDP families which is putting considerable pressure on their meager resources. Food stocks are running low as some families are unable to access their fields because of the growing insecurity.

Some people have tried to return to their villages but have had to flee again. Sporadic attacks against civilians by FDLR rebels continue. On 29 July, the FDLR attacked the village of Lubumba, some 10 km northwest of Luvungi in the Moyens Plateaux, reportedly looting homes and a hospital.

UNHCR and other aid organizations are planning to assist some 20,000 IDPs in the Ruzizi plain. We are providing aid kits consisting of blankets, sleeping mats, utensils, jerry cans and soap. Insecurity and poor road conditions are hampering efforts to reach many of the IDPs.

We are also coordinating protection activities, including registration of IDPs by the local authorities and NGOs, monitoring and setting up early warning systems for new displacement.

Some 536,000 people have been displaced by the conflict in the South Kivu. There are more than 1.8 million IDPs in the Congo, the vast majority of them in the eastern DRC.