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Fleeing Civilians Swell Displacement Camps in Eastern DRC


In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes in recent months by armed conflict between government forces and rebel groups. Many end up in camps for internally displaced people where conditions are difficult and often dangerous. Kari Barber has more from the North Kivu province of Congo where about 800,000 people have been displaced.

About 10,000 people live in the Buhimba refugee camp.

Sanitation, hygiene and health are struggles where so many people live so close together.

Farazya Mururuwe says she does not know how many times she has fled her home because of fighting. She says, "I've given birth to five children in this situation. We are always running."

Buhimba, managed by international aid agencies, is one of the better camps.

Still health worker Jean Marie says with the number of people living here and the number of new arrivals, there are many health risks and many people are sick. "The illnesses that are found here include gastrointestinal problems, malaria, and respiratory infections... The list is long," Maire said.

Health workers say cholera is spreading.

And as the conflict halts farming in the largely agricultural region, malnutrition becomes a serious issue.

Many complain the food rations are not enough. Women collect and sell firewood to earn money for more food.

Severely malnourished children are treated at this center in Goma, where many can only be fed through tubes.

A woman who calls herself Mama Suzanne feeds her son Adolf. She says he has been recently sick, "I brought my baby here a week ago. He had malaria and suffered from malnutrition."

Suzanne says with food Adolf is becoming stronger, but she does not know where she will go when she leaves.

The clinic receives more patients, as the war outside continues.

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