News / Africa

Over 200,000 Congolese Flee North Kivu Fighting

Children displaced by fighting in north Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) play at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro, Uganda,  July 13, 2012.
Children displaced by fighting in north Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) play at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro, Uganda, July 13, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA — U.N. aid agencies have reported more than 200,000 people have fled recent fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The agencies said they are deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation and their inability to get humanitarian assistance to the thousands of newly-displaced in North Kivu province.

The violent rebellion by hundreds of Congolese Tutsis who defected from the DRC army in March is taking a heavy toll on civilians. The United Nations estimates 220,000 people have fled their homes because of fighting in North Kivu province, in the eastern part of the country. Tens of thousands of refugees have crossed into neighboring Uganda and Rwanda.

A spokesman for the U.N. office for coordination of humanitarian affairs, Jens Laerke, said OHCA and other aid agencies are trying to find out exactly where the hundreds of thousands of displaced Congolese are now.

“What often happens in these situations where we have ongoing conflict is that people are displaced for a shorter period of time. So, they may leave their villages in anticipation of hostilities, then they return maybe a few hours later," said Laerke. "But they are displaced for a period of time. They may be displaced to another location outside of their place of origin. So, it is an extremely fluid and confusing situation at the moment.”  

Laerke said aid agencies need to assess the humanitarian needs of those who are newly displaced, but fighting is making it extremely difficult to do that.

The U.N. also is concerned, he said, about reports of children being recruited into armed groups in a number of towns around Rutshuru. And fears are growing that insecurity is likely to spread and destabilize other towns in North Kivu.

The World Food Program suspended deliveries of food aid this week to over 55,000 people at Walikale in North Kivu, due to the lack of security and restrictions on U.N. staff's movement.

WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said her agency plans to resume food delivery soon to 180,000 internally displaced in Walikale and 31 U.N. refugee camps across Masisi and Rutshuru.

“The food delivery will start early next week. We resume because we temporarily suspended in Walikale and the rest of the distribution is ongoing," said Byrs. "But we still need 600 metric tons of food - supplementary food - per month in the coming weeks. That is why we will need more contributions.”

The United Nations is increasing its original appeal by 10 percent to $791 million because of the escalation of violence in North Kivu in the past few weeks

Government authorities in North Kivu accuse Rwanda of fueling the conflict by supporting the rebel group M23. Rwanda denies allegations that it is supporting the Tutsi rebels, but a recent report by U.N. experts told of "substantial evidence" that Rwanda is supporting armed groups in the area.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has phoned Rwandan President Paul Kagame to voice his concern and to urge him to end his support for the rebels.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid