News / Africa

Nearly $40 Million Appeal to Assist DRC's Displaced

Internally displaced Congolese men and women wait for a World Food Program energy biscuits to be distributed in Kibati, north of Goma, eastern DRC, August 8, 2012.Internally displaced Congolese men and women wait for a World Food Program energy biscuits to be distributed in Kibati, north of Goma, eastern DRC, August 8, 2012.
x
Internally displaced Congolese men and women wait for a World Food Program energy biscuits to be distributed in Kibati, north of Goma, eastern DRC, August 8, 2012.
Internally displaced Congolese men and women wait for a World Food Program energy biscuits to be distributed in Kibati, north of Goma, eastern DRC, August 8, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
— The United Nations refugee agency is appealing for nearly $40 million to help almost half a million forcibly displaced civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and in neighboring Uganda and Rwanda.  UNHCR warns the number of displaced people in the eastern provinces could rise to more than 750,000 in the coming months.  

The humanitarian situation in North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale provinces has greatly deteriorated since fighting erupted in North Kivu province between Congolese government forces and the M23 rebel movement in April.

The UNHCR declared eastern Congo in a state of emergency last May in response to huge displacements caused by the violence.  Fighting between Mai Mai militia and the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda also forced many people to flee their homes in South Kivu.

U.N. refugee spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming says a power vacuum in parts of the east has caused further insecurity and suffering for civilians.  But she notes the large number of human-rights violations in North and South Kivu is particularly alarming.

"More than 15,000, what we call protection incidents, that is incidents that have been reported to us, which include murder, rape and forced recruitment," said Fleming.  "This is just since April and we expect that that number is probably much higher as in cases of sexual violence, for example, very many people in this culture do not come forward and report.  So, we believe that these violations are rampant and it is just a very, very difficult situation."

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UNHCR says insecurity and the remoteness of sites for Internally Displaced People create problems for aid delivery and protection monitoring.  

In Rwanda, the agency cites scarcity of land as the main challenge.  And, in Uganda, it says the remoteness of the area and lack of access, lack of infrastructure and basic services pose major problems for assistance.

Fleming says it is somewhat easier for aid agencies to help the Congolese refugees in camps in Rwanda and Uganda.  This, she says, is because once refugees cross an international border, they are protected and safe from the violence in their homeland.

The UNHCR runs 31 camps in North Kivu for more than 127,000 new Internally Displaced People.  Fleming says people in these camps never feel secure, particularly when they have to wander out and collect firewood and water.  She says this puts them in very precarious situations.

"The money is for obviously improving shelter and the relief items, etc.  But because this situation of sexual violence is so prevalent, there is also a program aimed at prevention and protection against sexual violence inside the country, as well as psychological support for victims of rape," Fleming added.  

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports almost two million people are internally displaced in eastern DRC.  This includes about 220,000 forced to flee their homes since April in North Kivu, 108,000 in South Kivu and 62,000 in Orientale.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid