KINSHASA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) this week provided a monthly food ration to close to 20,000 newly displaced people and host families in Beni, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), amid concerns about the effect of violence on the civilian population in the east of the country.
“With the conflict escalating in the past few weeks, WFP has been providing lifesaving assistance to Congolese who were forced to leave everything behind,” said Stanlake Samkange, WFP Regional Director for East and Central Africa. “But continued violence will lead to more people requiring help and it will be critical to ensure that WFP has sufficient resources to address the needs of the newly displaced.”
Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes, many seeking refuge near Goma or elsewhere in eastern DRC. Thousands more have made the trek across the Rwandan and Ugandan borders in search of security.
In the Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu alone, WFP is providing emergency food assistance to more than 244,000 displaced people. In coming days, WFP will provide food to 4,000 new internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rutshuru, North Kivu and carry out an assessment of the needs of some 80,000 people who have arrived in the same area. Another 8,000 people are scheduled to receive food assistance in Minova, South Kivu next week.
In Uganda, more than 21,000 Congolese who have crossed the border since the beginning of the year have received assistance at the Nyakabande reception centre in Kisoro and elsewhere in the country. Working alongside the United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR), WFP provides hot meals to the refugees as they arrive and continues supporting them with monthly food rations once they have been relocated to refugee settlements by the Ugandan authorities. Health services to treat malnutrition are also offered in collaboration with partners.
In Rwanda, close to 11,000 people have crossed the border since April according to UNHCR. The refugees are temporarily housed at the Nkamira transit centre, located 22km from the frontier, and receive food from the World Food Programme.
Taking earlier population movements into account, WFP is currently providing assistance to a total of 532,000 Congolese Refugees and internally displaced people in the Great Lakes region: 65,000 refugees in Rwanda, another 97,000 in Uganda and 370,000 IDPs in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
WFP’s operations in the three countries currently have a combined funding shortfall of about US$46 million over the next six months, and could require still more resources to meet the needs of a growing number of refugees and internally displaced people.
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