DRC: Operational Update - 12 November 2008

Goma, 12 November 2008 - The latest from the WFP team in Goma, eastern DRC:

> A WFP mission was able to deliver nearly a ton of BP-5 high-energy biscuits to a hospital in Rutshuru, north of Goma. The mission on Tuesday was the first time WFP has been able to reach Rutshuru since fighting closed in last week. The biscuits are a vital tool in combating the advance of malnutrition amongst young children.

> Registrations are now underway in Rutshuru and Kiwanja towns for WFP food distributions which are planned to commence before the end of the week.

> Insecurity remains the greatest obstacle to WFP's efforts to get food out to people. The frontline in the current conflict between the Congolese army (FARDC) and Laurent Nkunda's rebels (CNDP) is only a few kilometres north of Goma on the main road to Rutshuru. Shortly after WFP's mission to Rutshuru crossed back into Goma, fighting started again.

> WFP is today dispatching 54 metric tons of mixed food commodities to nutrition centres in and around Goma to support malnourished children and their families.

> WFP is dispatching food to the International Committee of the Red Cross who are carrying out registrations in and around Sake, west of Goma, ahead of distributions to about 25,000 people planned in the coming days. WFP is also planning distributions to displaced people south of Sake in Minova (South Kivu) where as many as 150,000 people are thought to be in need of assistance.

> WFP is encouraged by the return of several distribution partners to key areas of North Kivu, including Kitchanga, Sake, Rutshuru and Masisi, which will facilitate the rolling out of food distributions. However, security is still a major constraint to regular access for all humanitarian workers.

> A barge carrying 65 metric tons of food from Bukavu – enough for 130,000 people - docked in Goma port on Wednesday. WFP continues to receive as many as 20 trucks a day out of Kampala, Dar es Salaam and Kigali.

> WFP has secured warehouse space in Beni, in northern North Kivu, to support food deliveries to displaced people in Lubero district, who include many who fled north from recent fighting.

> WFP is opening a humanitarian air service, to operate from Kinshasa, to various points in eastern DRC. The first flight is scheduled to leave Kinshasa for Goma on Friday morning.