UNHCR starts distribution of clothing to 50,000 displaced in DRC
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, November 6 (UNHCR) - The UN refugee agency has begun distributing clothing to some 50,000 displaced people and returnees in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
"The distribution of the clothes is addressing one of the most pressing humanitarian needs of the internally displaced population and is being conducted in partnership with ADSSE, a local Congolese non-governmental organisation," said Eusebe Hounsokou, UNHCR representative in the DRC.
The exercise began last Saturday in the sprawling Gety camp and will move on at the end of this week to the Kagaba camp. Gety is home to more than 46,000 people, while Kagaba houses almost 13,000 internally displaced people (IDPs).
Heads of households were given tokens last week ahead of the start of the distribution. The tokens entitle them to trousers, skirts, blouses, shirts and t-shirts, according to needs.
The majority of the IDPs in the two camps arrived in June and July this year after fleeing clashes between the army and rebel forces. Most left all their belongings behind and are in urgent need of clothing, footwear and soap with the rainy season approaching.
The distribution operation in Ituri is the second of its kind within the framework of UNHCR humanitarian assistance to IDPs. In October, the refugee agency provided more than 6,300 IDPs in Katanga province with a return package, including kitchen sets, mosquito nets, blankets, plastic sheets, jerry cans and tools for the construction of basic shelter.
In Ituri region, UNHCR presently limits its interventions to assistance in the areas of displacement, looking for future ways to advance durable solutions and phase out. UNHCR is currently planning return and reintegration assistance projects that should allow the return of 25 percent of the IDPs from the Gety and Kagaba camps during the first months of next year.
The overall needs of the internally displaced in DRC are great. With insufficient food stocks, difficult access to basic health care, overcrowded conditions in the camps, limited access to potable water and no functioning schools, every day is a struggle for survival. Increased access to these vulnerable populations allows UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies to build protective environments for these communities.
At the beginning of the year, there were an estimated 1.6 million internally displaced people in the DRC - 375.000 of them are in Ituri. Thousands have since begun returning to their homes across the country.