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Needs unmet as refugees flee from Congo to Congo

Refugees have continued fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo's war-torn eastern province for neighbouring Uganda.
(Courtesy UNHCR)

Aid agencies have been unable to fully meet the needs of tens of thousands of people who have fled inter-communal clashes over natural resources in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).



And according to the Humanitarian Affairs Minister in the neighbouring Republic of Congo, the refugees’ destination, time is of the essence.



“We are also afraid of low water levels in the River Ubangui [which separates the two Congos],” said Emilienne Raoul.



“From 15 December it will be difficult for boats to navigate the Ubangui,” she added.



“There are now 77,488 refugees in Congo-Brazzaville,” said UNHCR’s crisis unit chief Ben Boubacar Diallo.



“Given the number of refugees, the aid would appear to be insufficient. The needs are enormous,” he said, adding that the situation in DRC’s Equateur province had yet to improve.



“We will keep supplying domestic kits [comprising mattresses, mosquito nets, blankets, basins and jerry cans] while mobilizing agencies,” said Diallo.


Foam mattresses about to be delivered in eastern Republic of Congo, to where thousands of refugees from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo have fled after deadly clashes over fishing rights in Equateur province

Laudes Mbon/IRIN
Foam mattresses about to be delivered in eastern Republic of Congo, to where thousands of refugees from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo have fled after deadly clashes over fishing rights in Equateur province
http://www.irinnews.org/photo.aspx
Friday, November 20, 2009
New wave of refugees flees fresh fighting
Foam mattresses about to be delivered in eastern Republic of Congo, to where thousands of refugees from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo have fled after deadly clashes over fishing rights in Equateur province


Photo: Laudes Mbon/IRIN
A past aid delivery: UNCHR says aid agencies have been unable to fully meet the needs of tens of thousands of people who have fled clashes in northwestern DRC (file photo)

“Conditions are harsh. We have not yet registered epidemics because agencies offering health services have been efficient and vigilant,” he said.



So far the humanitarian response has involved:



- The World Food Programme on 8 December sent a boat with almost 300MT of food and 1,500 litres of fuel up the Ubangui river to the northern Likouala region, where the DRC refugees are now living along a 160km stretch of riparian territory. Some 90 percent of the refugee sites can only be reached from the river.



- The Italian government announced it has donated 300,000 euros (US$442,597) to help meet the most pressing needs of the refugees for the next six months.



- The World Health Organization has made 2MT of medical supplies available to the Congolese government for delivery to the refugees.



- Some 500MT of food is warehoused in the southern city of Point Noir but wagons are needed before they can be railfreighted to Brazzaville, from where they will be sent to Likouala.



lmm/am/mw


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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