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DRC: Aid arrives in Dungu

Briefing notes

DRC: Aid arrives in Dungu

23 December 2008

In the north-eastern Congolese Oriental province, five UNHCR trucks carrying 23 tonnes of aid arrived in Dungu district on Sunday after an 11-day journey from the town of Bunia, located 700 kilometres away. The aid on board, including jerry cans, kitchen sets, plastic sheets, will be distributed this week by UNHCR, UNICEF and other humanitarian partners to 1,720 families (8,600 people).

These people were displaced during recent joint military offensives by the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and South Sudan against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Dungu, which is in the north-eastern DRC province of Orientale. People fled their villages in the north of Dungu to escape the fighting and find safety in the south of the district.

We remain very concerned about the safety of hundreds of vulnerable families living in villages in the east and north-east of Dungu. These people, who include the elderly and the handicapped, are reportedly unable to make their way south to safety. Many of them are sleeping in the open and several are in acute need of medical assistance, food and shelter. We are currently unable to reach these people because of the security situation.

Still in the same area, five children abducted by the LRA have recently managed to escape. UNHCR and UNICEF traced their families in the Dungu district and a reunion will be organized in the coming days. The children were abducted by the LRA in Duru, some 80 km north of Dungu, during attacks in that area in September.

In neighbouring North Kivu province, meanwhile, we have resumed the voluntary transfer to safer areas of internally displaced Congolese civilians in Kibati, which is located north of the provincial capital, Goma, and close to the military frontline. A total of 667 people were transferred on Monday to Mugunga, west of Goma. With the latest transfer, UNHCR has now moved 4,500 of the most vulnerable internally displaced people (IDPs) to Mugunga. IDPs living in public sites in Goma are also being considered for transfers to organized sites around the town.

Fighting in North Kivu intensified at the end of 2006. By January this year, it had brought the total number of IDPs in the region to almost 850,000. Since the fighting resumed in August, some 250,000 civilians have fled, many of them already displaced.