The situation in the Uvira and Fizi areas of South Kivu remains of concern as people continue to flee insecurity and many are still hiding in the bush, humanitarian sources said. Congolese refugees arriving in western Tanzania reported that the displaced from Uvira and Fizi were facing hunger and disease, including cholera. “In the bush, they live in extreme conditions with no access to humanitarian assistance since it is cut off because of insecurity and lack of infrastructure,” John Sparrow, Information Officer of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) told IRIN: “The longer they stay there, the more serious their conditions become.”
Reaching the lake shore to cross to Kigoma in Tanzania can be hazardous for the fleeing Congolese, IFRC said. “There are countless stories of people being turned back or shot at”, Sparrow said. IFRC supports the work of the Tanzanian Red Cross in the Lugufu refugee camp, located 90 km east of Kigoma, which currently has a population of 23,000 people.
Some 37,914 Congolese refugees have arrived in the Kigoma area since August 1998, including 675 who arrived between 26 February and 1 March, UNHCR said. Most of the new arrivals from the Fizi and Uvira areas reported that they had left their homes because of fierce fighting in the villages of Dino and Rubiro.
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