WFP Executive Director Calls On All Armed Groups In DRC To Permit Humanitarian Access

Published on 19 July 2013

GOMA – At the end of a three-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin has called upon all armed groups to ensure that humanitarian agencies are able to safely assist all people in need, wherever they are in DRC.

“It’s important to understand that UN humanitarian agencies and their NGO partners have only one objective, which is to provide lifesaving assistance to people in need,” said the WFP Director at the end of a three day visit in DRC.  “We in the humanitarian community are neutral, impartial and independent, and our work is based only on needs, regardless of nationality, race, gender, religious, belief, class or political opinions. Our only concern is the people we serve.”

The humanitarian community in DRC is concerned that any outbreaks of new fighting might further reduce humanitarian space and access throughout eastern DRC, including in and around Goma.

Due to lack of infrastructure and poor road conditions, bringing assistance to displaced people in eastern DRC is a huge challenge even when the region is at peace. WFP provides food assistance to some 4.2 million people in DRC, including 1.2 million children through its school meals programme.

There are about 2.6 million internally displaced people in the country.

“It was very important to me to come to DRC and to talk directly to the people here. The people have the same dream: to be able to go back home. To make this dream come true, to ensure sustainable food security, DRC needs a just peace and a sustainable political solution. I will be the voice of these people for the world”, said Cousin after visiting a camp near Goma.

“WFP will also assist them in the next phase, as they rebuild their lives when the situation stabilizes” she added.

During her stay in DRC, Cousin met Prime Minister Matata Ponyo, the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dismas Magbengu and Minister of Education Maker Mwangu Fwamba.

“In my meeting with the government, I took the opportunity to thank the Congolese authorities for their support,” she said.

Cousin arrived in DRC on 17 July from South Africa, and is travelling onward to Rwanda for a three-day visit.

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.

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For more information please contact (email address:
Emilia Casella , WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Nairobi, Mob. +254707722104
Fabienne Pompey, WFP/DRC, Tel +243 97 0000 292