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article imageSituation in North Kivu is 'Desperate' Humanitarian Agencies Say

By Bob Ewing     Nov 5, 2008 in World
In the last two months, 250,000 people were forced to flee their homes, meaning the total number of displaced people stands at a million, or 20% of the population of North-Kivu.
The situation is being described as '' desperate '' as the number of people displaced from their homes following fighting last week in North Kivu grows. In the last two months, 250,000 people were forced to flee their homes, meaning the total number of displaced people stands at a million, or 20% of the population of North-Kivu.
A UNICEF report states 60,000 children fled recent fighting between armed groups in North-Kivu. Hundreds of children were separated from their families and had to fend for themselves.
For those displaced food and water is scare and health care basic.
The World Health Organization said that increasing quantities of medicines had been provided by foreign governments to save lives in the East of the DRC and it called for more assistance to respond to the most urgent needs.
The World Food Programme said it was going to begin distributing ten days of rations for 135,000 people in six camps around Goma, the provincial capital of North-Kivu. The distribution will take place the same day to avoid rioting.
WFP transported food from Uganda and Zambia to DRC and had some emergency supplies in Bukavu. But the United Nations as a whole says better guarantees need to be put in place to provide safe passage of humanitarian goods and security for staff.
UNHCR fears that three camps for displaced people close to Rutshuru have been destroyed and emptied of their inhabitants. The agency is trying to find out where the thousands of people who were in these camps are.
This is the first time that UNHCR has had access to the area controlled by these rebels to the north of Goma.
More about Displaced people, Homes, Congo
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