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Situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Briefing notes

Situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo

8 May 2009

Yesterday, UNHCR and its partners began moving some 1,000 internally displaced persons from Mugunga I and II to Mugunga III reception centres, west of Goma in North Kivu province. The aim is to reduce congestion and create more space for Congolese civilians fleeing the continuing violence and insecurity in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The new internally displaced people (IDPs) have fled attacks by the Hutu militia, the so-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), over the past two months. Intensified rebel assaults around Lubero, Masisi and Walikale territories have forcibly displaced over 100,000 civilians, some of whom have reached safety in UNHCR camps located on the outskirts of Goma. Fleeing civilians told UNHCR they fear reprisal attacks from the FDLR. Some reported family members being killed or abducted and their homes being torched by the rebels.

The Mugunga III site was established in late December last year as a back-up site for the IDP influx at the height of the conflict. Comprising 105 hectares, it can accommodate up to 60,000 people.

The older sites from which the IDPs are being moved, Mugunga I, with 28 hectares, and Mugunga II, with 18 hectares, were established in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Each can take at least 20,000 people, but has limited relief facilities. The three sites hold over 35,000 IDPs.

The displaced population in the camps is receiving high-energy biscuits, plastic sheeting, construction materials and a plot on which to erect a provisional shelter.

We estimate there are now some 1.8 million IDPs in North Kivu as a result of fighting and instability since late 2006. At least 75 percent of the displaced live with host families. Approximately 100,000 IDPs are temporarily accommodated in 11 UNHCR-run sites across the province.