Democratic Republic of Congo: operational update

Published on 28 September 2007

WFP is profiting from improved security conditions in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo to deliver vital food supplies to people forced from their homes by recent fighting and who until now have been beyond WFP’s reach. Concerns remain for those who are still cut off from humanitarian assistance.

WFP is profiting from improved security conditions in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo to deliver vital food supplies to people forced from their homes by recent fighting and who until now have been beyond WFP’s reach. Concerns remain for those who are still cut off from humanitarian assistance.

Continuing attacks and populations displacements are robbing already extremely poor people of all their survival strategies, and making them vulnerable to armed elements, especially to sexual violence.

Distributions

As of today, WFP has started distributions to nearly 65,000 internally displaced people in Masisi (7,500), Kalehe (nearly 19,000) and Rutshuru (38,500) districts – areas which have been badly affected by recent clashes and until recently have been no-go areas for WFP operations for security reasons.

There are still an estimated 300,000 displaced people in need of help in North Kivu alone.

A further 2,700 families fled their homes and are living in Bishangi, south of the town of Sake. Most are with host families but 90 families have taken refuge in school or church buildings and are receiving WFP rations through partner NGO CARITAS.

Inaccessible

After being inaccessible for two weeks due to insecurity, food deliveries have reached Nyamilima, an area with one of the highest displacement rates in Rutshuru disctrict. Six hundred malnourished children and their families are to benefit from these deliveries.

Despite this progress in reaching the affected, reports of clashes continue, jeopardising deliveries to those who need them most. Getting vital assistance into Masisi continues to be problematic as armed groups are currently blocking the movement of trucks in and out of the area. An armed escort from the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) is needed in almost all areas outside Goma.

Reports continue of further displacement in North Kivu due to the fighting, increasing WFP concerns for those who remain beyond our reach at this time.

WFP has started deliveries to feeding centres treating malnourished children in Mugunga, Buhimba and Bujovu camps, as well as Virunga hospital in Goma.

A second round of distributions to as many as 65,000 displaced people in and around Mugunga camp outside Goma is being prepared.

"Stretched to the limit"

WFP is concerned at the lack of humanitarian capacity in North Kivu as NGO partners are already stretched to their limit.

Food assistance needs in eastern DRC have already tripled in the past year. Although donors have been generous in their support, WFP still requires an additional US$12 million for its existing operations until the end of the year.