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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid