Democratic Republic of the Congo: Emergency food and water for North Kivu displaced

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In the Kibati area six kilometres from Goma, the North Kivu provincial capital, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today began a distribution of 365 tonnes of food – enough to cover the needs of 65,000 displaced people for 10 days.

The people had to flee their homes after the latest armed clashes in North Kivu. Over the past week the ICRC has already been delivering some 60,000 litres of water every day to the same area for 20,000 people who have taken refuge in places without suitable infrastructure.

"The humanitarian situation is terrible. In the Kibati camps, I saw people in extreme distress, including women and children, and elderly people," said Max Hadorn, the ICRC's head of delegation, currently visiting North Kivu. "To help them, we have set up an emergency operation to meet the most urgent needs: water, food and hygiene."

The aid distributions are organized in close partnership with many volunteers from the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who have been working non-stop since last week to ensure proper sanitation in the Kibati camps and to promote good hygiene practices there. They also installed latrines with ICRC support.

The ICRC reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligation under international humanitarian law to preserve the lives and health of civilians, the wounded and persons captured in connection with the conflict. In addition, the parties to the conflict have an obligation to refrain from harming objects indispensable to the survival of the population such as foodstuffs, livestock and drinking water installations. The warring parties must also authorize and facilitate the passage of relief supplies intended for the civilian population.

International Committee of the Red Cross