The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is helping to feed over 40,000 internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s northwestern Equateur province. They fled to the nearby forest from the town of Dongo after recent violence over fishing rights left over 270 dead, according to government estimates.
About 80,000 people crossed the Oubangui River into neighboring Republic of Congo and were fed by WFP in late November, says the U.N.
In recent days, the WFP worked with local authorities and the UN Mission in the Congo (MONUC) to provide security at two food distribution sites in the towns of Bozene and Boyazala, over 65 kilometers away from Dongo, which remains empty.
"What we did for Bozene, there was lots of sensitization with local authorities explaining who was going to be fed – the displaced people in the forest that we had identified," said WFP spokesperson Stephanie Savariaud.
"[We explained that] the local population would not be able to receive food. And after these discussions, MONUC could secure convoys and distribution areas. Afterward, the distributions went well and no security incidents have been reported.”
The WFP will continue to feed those in need until peace returns to the area, and the internally displaced feel secure enough to return home.