Thousands have been displaced by six months of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ituri and North Kivu provinces.
Armed groups have staged six months of killings, rapes and abductions in this part of eastern Congo, forcing over 300,000 people to flee their homes.
Local communities are welcoming, but their hospitals and schools are stretched. In Drodro, some 16,000 internally displaced people have arrived in recent months, mostly women and children.
UNHCR expressed alarm today over the dire living conditions of the displaced and has stepped up its response to the growing crisis by constructing emergency shelters to help keep people safe. Basic items like blankets, laundry soap and jerry cans have also been distributed, while women and girls also receive sanitary items for their personal hygiene.
UNHCR needs USD150 million to respond to refugees and displaced people’s needs in Congo this year, but so far only 57 percent has been received. Funding shortages are severely affecting the displaced people’s ability to meet their own basic needs and efforts to be self-reliant.
Sendralahatra Rakontondradalo, a UNHCR shelter expert, witnessed the dire conditions as people arrived in Drodro without any belongings.
“I have heard of some girls and women being forced into survival sex to feed themselves and their families. Overcrowded places have limited privacy, increasing this risk,” she said.
Liz Ahua, UNHCR’s Representative in the country, said the number of displaced people is rising.
“Thousands of displaced people want to return home but have to wait until the situation is safer,” she said. (Source: Relief Web)