More than 6,000 forcibly displaced Congolese receive food aid

Food was distributed to 2,055 families, or 6,165 people. It included cornflour, peas, vegetable oil and salt. People were also given soap and jerry cans.

A volcano looms over Mugunga III camp. Some of the distribution took place here.  © UNHCR/F.Noy

GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 26 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency helped the World Food Programme (WFP) distribute food rations to thousands of forcibly displaced people in eastern Congo's North Kivu province at the weekend.

Kouassi Lazare Etien, head of UNHCR's office in the North Kivu capital of Goma, on Monday praised WFP for responding positively to a UNHCR request to provide three-day food packages to internally displaced people (IDP) in Mugunga I, Mugunga III and Lac Vert camps as well as other sites.

The recipients had not received assistance for several days due to the fighting in North Kivu between government forces and the rebel M23 movement, who captured Goma on Tuesday last week and the area around Mugunga III.

Etien said staff from UNHCR and non-governmental organizations had facilitated the WFP distribution of emergency food rations on Saturday and Sunday to 2,055 families, or 6,165 people. The distribution of 10.2 tonnes of aid included cornflour, peas, vegetable oil and salt. The aid also included soap and jerry cans.

He said many of those receiving aid wished to return to their home areas in North Kivu's Rutshuru territory. The UN estimates that about 140,000 people have been displaced by the recent fighting in North Kivu and some 10,000 in South Kivu.

The situation in Goma, meanwhile, remains calm but tense. Supplies of water and electricity have not been fully restored. Humanitarian agencies continue to prepare for the resumption of emergency relief operations.