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The Congos: border security improves

Briefing notes

The Congos: border security improves

12 December 2000

Following discussions between UNHCR and the authorities of both Congos, security along the border rivers of Ubangui and the Congo, which separate the two countries, has now improved enabling UNHCR to resume delivery of assistance to some 100,000 refugees who have sought shelter along a 700-km stretch of the two rivers, after months of severely restricted access due to insecurity. Despite the improved security situation, the relief effort remains very complicated logistically, with fuel and transportation scarce throughout the region.

A barge carrying 400 tonnes of goods arrived last week in Loukolela and is due in Impfondo this week. Blankets, kitchen sets, fishing nets and food will be distributed to some 42,000 refugees settled in and around Impfondo. The barge will then carry on to Betou, where a further 4,000 refugees will receive assistance. Regular relief flights from Brazzaville to Betou are also now possible, with two flights last week and another flight set to arrive today (Tuesday). Each flight has a capacity of one ton of cargo.

The UN Special Envoy for Countries Affected by the War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Amara Essy, on Sunday visited Bokona refugee camp in Impfondo accompanied by UNHCR and government officials

Mr. Essy, a former foreign minister of Côte d'Ivoire, was sent by the UN Secretary-General to the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo to assess the impact of the war in DRC on neighbouring countries, particularly for refugees.