DRC: Addressing the most urgent needs in the east

November 2012: Children in the Lac Vert IDP site near Goma, North Kivu. The site became home to around 30,000 IDPs following fighting between the M23 and the Congolese army that month. Credit: OCHA/Imane Gana Cherif
Aid organizations appeal for $30.5 million to help displaced people in North Kivu.

UN agencies and humanitarian partners have appealed for $30.5 million to help more than half a million people displaced by conflict in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Some 150,000 of these people fled their homes after heavy fighting last November.

The North Kivu Response Plan, which was launched on Friday in Goma, will fund life-saving humanitarian activities for the first six months of 2013.

“The response plan is our answer to the loss and suffering endured by thousands of people these past months,” said Barbara Shenstone, head of OCHA DRC. “We want to provide families with aid to cover their most basic immediate needs while looking ahead to restoring their livelihoods.”

The plan covers programmes to help protect civilians in the region, many of whom were forced from their homes by clashes between the M23 and the Congolese army since April 2012. North Kivu has the highest rates of displacement in DRC.

“While Goma remains calm but tense, new displacements are occurring every day elsewhere in North Kivu with thousands seeking safety in neighbouring South Kivu,” said Barbara Beintein, UNICEF’s representative in the DRC.

“Many, notably children, risk death, injury, recruitment into armed groups and abuse. We urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and to respect international law so that humanitarian agencies can continue to reach and attend to those affected.”

The response plan will help aid organizations reach displaced families with food, water, shelter and medicine as well as help them return home and rebuild their lives. Health partners plan to renovate clinics and health centres, and replenish medical supplies. They will rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities to help prevent outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases.    

UNICEF and partners will rebuild schools and supply about 240,000 children with school kits. They will provide educational and psychosocial support to help the children deal with trauma caused by the conflict and being forced from their homes.