News / Africa

UN Seeks Extra Funding for DRC Displaced

Refugee children, displaced by continued fighting in north Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), wait for food in the Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro town, 521 km (324 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, July 13, 201
Refugee children, displaced by continued fighting in north Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), wait for food in the Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro town, 521 km (324 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala, July 13, 201
Nick Long
United Nations agencies are appealing for additional funding to help people uprooted by conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Insecurity and the weather are proving to be major challenges for relief operations in the east of the country.  The DRC’s most troubled province.
 
Life goes on at a displaced people’s camp on the outskirts of Goma, North Kivu’s capital. Children troop to the schoolhouse singing "Let’s go to school so we can learn religion, arithmetic and French."
UN Seeks Extra Funding for DRC Displaced
UN Seeks Extra Funding for DRC Displacedi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X


At night the homeless take their place in the classroom and sleep under the desks.  Outside, thousands more people who have fled conflict sleep in huts made of sticks and grass, covered with plastic sheets that don’t always keep out the floods.
 
There’s been one general food distribution to the 55,000 people at this informal camp at Kanyarucinya, a few kilometers to the north of Goma, since it was opened several months ago.
 
Everyone, including aid workers, agrees the food was seriously sub-standard.
 
Conditions are difficult here.  One man said, "We don’t have enough to eat.  We could die of hunger here because these beans they’ve given us are rotten."
 
But 60 kilometers away up in the mountains of Masisi territory, conditions appear to be even worse for thousands of other displaced people in the towns of Rubaya and Kibabi.
 
A large crowd in Rubaya this week said that they hadn’t had any outside help since July, when they fled from another camp after it was attacked by a militia.  Many of them looked undernourished and in poor health.  
 
We live like the birds, said one man.  He said it was the people in Rubaya who gave them something to eat, a few potatoes now and then.
 
Mwanyera Baraka,12, spoke up, unprompted by anyone, when asked what they were getting to eat. He said that they ate little, sometimes once a day, when at home they could eat three times a day.
 
The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says it is currently getting food aid to 265,000 displaced people in North Kivu, but there are many others it’s also trying to reach.
 
"There’s also another 129,000 identified newly displaced people in the territory of Masisi who are in spontaneous sites and host families that we’re planning operations for in the very near future," noted Laura Parker who works for WFP in North Kivu.  "So we’ve been able to reach the 265,000 targeted, but the big question is for the ones that we know exist and we know are vulnerable and we know need food aid, food assistance - the big question is how do we get our resources to them?"
 
With the start of rainy season many stretches of road in North Kivu have turned into a quagmire, particularly in Masisi and Walikale territory to the west.

"So we now have to reconsider what are our options in terms of transport, either by air or things like that, but again that can be super costly, which is already a challenge for WFP because our resources are severely limited, both financially and food," Parker added.
 
A big problem for aid agencies is that many of the displaced have not gone to official camps recognized by the government and the United Nations.  Instead, they have settled at what are called spontaneous sites or with host families. This is often because they don’t want to go too far from their land, in case other people take it over.

"It’s a big challenge to assist those people because they don’t go through official registration processes, so it’s very difficult to get accurate numbers on them, their movements can be quite pendular with some of them going back to their fields during the day, and the spontaneous sites tend to be sometimes isolated and very difficult to access in terms of road conditions and security," Parker explained.
 
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says another reason many of the displaced have not gone to one of the 31 official camps in North Kivu is because they are not sure which camps are safe.  Several have been attacked in recent months.

"It’s important that IDPs know, as soon as possible, where they can go to find security, and that the authorities know where the security conditions can be offered," said Christophe Beau who works for UNHCR in North Kivu.

The World Food Program is appealing for an extra $46 million to fund its emergency operations in the DRC.  The money would be to cope with extra costs and to try to keep other operations going, such as its school feeding program which it has had to cut by 40 percent, and its aid to host families, which it has cut by 50 percent.
 
This week UNHCR also launched a supplementary appeal, for just under $40 million, to help forcibly displaced people in eastern Congo.

(The following statements from the World Food Program clarifies two inacurracies in the original version of the article. 

"'WFP has checked the beans after IDPs complained about them and found that they were fit for consumption although hard and took a long time to cook. Food assistance at the camp is continuing through the distribution of food vouchers, which allow people to buy the food they want from local producers."
)

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs