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DRC: Transfers of displaced begin in North Kivu

Briefing notes

DRC: Transfers of displaced begin in North Kivu

19 October 2007

In the North Kivu region in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) yesterday, Thursday, we started the process of transferring people who have been internally displaced by violent clashes in the region from congested makeshift settlements with very difficult living conditions to a new camp set up by UNHCR which has the essential basic facilities.

A first group of 500 people moved from Ndosho - a makeshift settlement of some 1,000 people with no drinking water or basic sanitation - to the new camp at Buhimba six kilometres west of Goma, the main town in the area. The 28-hectare site is expected to decongest several makeshift sites including Ndosho and Lac Vert in the Mugunga area and ensure basic facilities. We expect to complete the transfers from Ndosho, where many people had been living for a month, to Buhimba by today (Friday) and then start transferring more than 7,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) from Lac Vert to the new camp.

Buhimba is the second camp developed by UNHCR for IDPs in the Mugunga area and it can accommodate more than 10,000 people. Bulengo, the first camp, reached its capacity of 10,000 IDPs at the end of September.

Displaced people are continuing to arrive at sites around Goma. In the last 10 days more than 500 families have reportedly arrived in the Mugunga area. This is just a small part of the overall displacement in North Kivu. Aid agencies estimate over 370,000 IDPs have been displaced in North Kivu since December 2006. In the Mugunga area alone, the total number of IDPs has now surpassed the 80,000 mark. We fear many IDPs remain in areas inaccessible to humanitarian agencies as people continue to flee insecurity and fighting between the government forces, renegade troops and rebels in many parts of North Kivu. We are working closely with the authorities to identify additional sites.