An upsurge in fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic Province of North Kivu has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to suspend all movement outside the provincial capital Goma, threatening aid deliveries to some 335,000 displaced people.
It’s simply too dangerous for us to head out of town right now
WFP Goma - Aya Shneerson
Although some commercially hired trucks continue to deliver food in Rutshuru district, north of Goma, WFP staff and truck fleet remain confined to the city.
“It’s simply too dangerous for us to head out of town right now,” said WFP Goma head of office Aya Shneerson.
“It’s very frustrating because we know how much those people out there need us – and if the fighting continues for much longer they will need us even more.
“But we are re-evaluating the situation every day and hope we can get back into the field together with our partners soon,” she said.
In the days leading up to the renewed outbreak of fighting, WFP was able to deliver substantial amounts of food assistance into some of the worst affected areas which had lain out of reach for weeks.
In Masisi district, WFP has been able to reach over 33,600 displaced people in Kitchanga and Kirolirwe, two towns that had received no assistance since August, when the latest round of violence intensified sharply.
In Rutshuru, WFP was able to deliver food for some 62,000 displaced and all the nutritional centres were resupplied with vital stocks to help in the battle against malnutrition, which stalks the youngest and most vulnerable.
To make matters worse, road conditions in the region have deteriorated sharply after heavy rains. The journey to Masisi which used to be done in a day, is now taking twice as long.