From JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
THERE is alarm over the worsening situation for
the 100 000 people newly displaced by violence following armed groups
perpetrated in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Terror by the rebels, largely the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), has
uprooted the civilians from Beni since December. The launch of a
government-led military operation agitated the militants.
An estimated 252 civilians are reported to have been killed.
Some survivors are reportedly haunted by killings, sexual violence and
abductions they witnessed at home and during escape.
Survivors that fled have settled in the town of Nobili and surrounding
Many civilians have taken refuge in overcrowded schools and churches.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported
thousands more were living in dire conditions across dozens of informal
settlements, sleeping in huts made of branches.
“They are exposed to the elements and face serious threats to their
safety and protection, including from the lack of privacy,” Andrej
Mahecic, the UNHCR spokesperson, said.
Key needs include food, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene and
access to education.
Schools either do not have the capacity to host additional pupils or are
closed because they are now sheltering refugees.
“This is placing a huge strain on already inadequate educational
infrastructure,” Mahecic said.
More than 5 million people remain displaced in the conflict-prone
country, representing Africa’s largest internal displacement situation.
UNHCR needs US$ 150 million (R2,2 billion) to respond to refugee needs
in DRC this year but has only received 4 percent total to date.
- CAJ News