Conflict in eastern DRC: emergency appeal in the face of a “humanitarian catastrophe”

Friday, February 23, 2024
Goma, DR Congo

Warning of a “humanitarian catastrophe”, UN agencies launched an emergency appeal on Friday for the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the grip of a rebellion which, according to local sources, left at least 3 civilians dead the previous day, a mother and her two children.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Food Programme (WFP) “call for immediate action to protect children and families caught up in the escalating violence”, write the humanitarian agencies in a statement.

Plagued by chronic armed violence for 30 years, the eastern DRC has been experiencing a peak crisis since late 2021, with the resurgence in North Kivu province of the M23 (“March 23 Movement”) rebellion, which, with the support of neighboring Rwanda, has seized vast swathes of territory.

Fighting intensified in early February around Sake, a town located some 20 km west of Goma and considered a strategic lock on the road to the provincial capital.

The violence has left dozens dead and wounded.

“This has triggered a huge population movement towards already overcrowded camps for the displaced”, note the UN agencies.

According to them, “an additional 214,950 people have joined the 500,000 already displaced in the areas around Goma” and “tens of thousands more have moved to Minova”, in the neighboring province of South Kivu.

According to the UN, the DRC has a total of some 7 million displaced persons, mainly in the east.

“We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe on a massive scale”, notes Peter Musoko, WFP representative in the DRC, in the press release. “Children and their families are caught in the deadly crossfire”, deplored the agencies.

After a few days of relative calm, bombing raids again targeted Sake on Thursday evening.

“There were three dead and one wounded” in the Mayutsa district (at the southern entrance to the town), said Joseph Maombi Mubiri, chief of the town of Sake, interviewed by AFP from Goma. The dead were “a mother and her two children aged 8 and 12”, he added.

This death toll was confirmed by a humanitarian source.

Humaniterre with AFP



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