News / Africa

WFP Airlifts Food to Thousands of Congolese Refugees

Refugee children from the Democratic Republic of Congo attend class in a forest near the town of Gangania, more than 850 km north of Brazzaville, the capital of neighboring Congo, 25 Feb 2010
Refugee children from the Democratic Republic of Congo attend class in a forest near the town of Gangania, more than 850 km north of Brazzaville, the capital of neighboring Congo, 25 Feb 2010

The World Food Program has begun airlifting urgent food assistance to tens of thousands of Congolese refugees who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo into the neighboring Congo Republic.  More than 120,000 refugees have fled to Congo Brazzaville since October to escape ethnic violence in the DRC. 

The World Food Program has been distributing food to more than 59,000 Congolese refugees, mainly women and children, since the end of November.  The agency's most recent distribution was carried out at the end of February for 3,000 new arrivals in Betou district.

WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella says it is very difficult to get regular food supplies to the refugees who are camped out in a very remote area.  She says the roads are largely impassable.  So, WFP has had to start airlifts to beef up its food stocks in the area.  

"We have been using barges along the river and, in fact, there is currently a barge loaded with 250 tons of rice and corn soy blend, as well as medical kits and other help headed to these people.  And, hopefully it will get to them in about a week from now," said Casella. "It takes a couple of weeks to get up the river.  But, this is the last barge we can get up the river as the water levels are getting too low."  

As a consequence, Casella says food stocks have to be replenished quickly.  So, over the coming weeks, she says WFP plans to airlift 600 metric tons of maize, pulses and salt.  She says this will be enough to feed some 100,000 refugees for two weeks.

The refugees fled from Equateur province in the DRC after deadly clashes erupted in October between two tribes over fishing and farming rights.

They are scattered over 100 sites along a 600-kilometer stretch of land along the Oubangui river, which forms the border between the DRC and Republic of Congo.

Casella says the airlift can only bring in limited quantities of food, so WFP soon will begin sending in convoys of food through neighboring Cameroon. She says WFP hopes to have this route up and running by March 26.

"Coming through Cameroon is a much shorter and faster route and there are roads available that we can get to the people," said the spokeswoman. "So, we have a three-pronged approach.  We are using airlifts right now.  We will begin to use road routes through Cameroon and then, come July, the water level will have expected to rise again in the river and we will be able to use the barges again to get food to these people."  

Casella says the refugees are living off fishing, hunting and cassava.  She notes the heavy influx of Congolese refugees has practically doubled the population along the Republic of Congo side of the border.  And this, she says, is posing big problems.

She says both the refugees and local residents are competing for the same scarce resources.  She says WFP will try to ease the strain by providing food assistance to the most vulnerable people in the community who are hosting the refugees. 

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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