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DATE=12/7/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CONGO FOOD AID (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-256923 BYLINE=JENNIFER WIENS DATELINE=NAIROBI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The World Food Program (W-F-P) says it is running out of resources to feed hundreds-of-thousands of people displaced by the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As Jennifer Wiens reports, the U-N agency is asking for more aid to help those fleeing from the fighting. TEXT: The United Nations estimates 800-thousand Congolese have been displaced from their homes due to fighting between President Laurent Kabila's forces and rebel fighters. Most of the displaced have fled deep into the forest, far from their farms and jobs, and with little means of finding or buying food. The World Food Program is concentrating on feeding 350-thousand of the internal refugees. But in a statement released this week in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, the W-F-P says it is running out of money for its Congo program. The W-F-P's Michele Quintaglie says although the agency has been successful in reaching people in remote areas, the shortage of money means they may not be able to provide much help for much longer. /// ACT QUINTAGLIE /// As we access more (i.e. gain access to more people in need), we are going to be facing a dilemma, where we are going into areas and finding people who need our help, but we actually can not provide it. /// END ACT /// A series of civil wars and rebellions has gripped the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996, when Laurent Kabila seized power from ousted dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Now rebels - in part backed by Uganda and Rwanda - are trying to overthrow President Kabila, who is being supported with troops and arms from Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia. A cease-fire and peace accord was signed in August, but it has been ignored in the past few weeks, with reports of heavy fighting. The new fighting has meant new refugees, with some observers saying whole villages have been deserted. W-F-P's Michele Quintaglie recently visited several regions of the Congo. She says the situation is becoming serious, even if there are not yet signs of many deaths due to starvation. /// ACT QUINTAGLIE /// You will always find a handful of children, elderly people who are visibly malnourished. But the vast majority look like they are managing to cope. So you start to question, is the crisis as bad as it seems? And the reality is, yes it is a crisis. You already have the weakest starting to show malnutrition, and it is just a matter of time before more of them will if they do not get help. /// END ACT /// The W-F-P launched its Congo program in June, in both the government-controlled west and in the rebel- dominated east. The agency asked for 30-million dollars to provide food assistance, but so far, the agency has received only 10-million dollars. (SIGNED) NEB/JW/GE/RAE 07-Dec-1999 09:48 AM EDT (07-Dec-1999 1448 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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