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DR Congo: UN works to help displaced as violence continues in North Kivu

10 October 2007 The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is rushing aid to displaced people fleeing their homes in the country’s troubled North Kivu region, while putting in place contingency plans to help those affected by the fighting.

Kemal Saiki, a spokesman for the UN mission, known as MONUC, told reporters in Kinshasa today that the UN World Food Programme (WFP) dispatched a team from Goma to deliver 100 tons of supplies to its non-governmental organization partners and to conduct a quick assessment of the situation of displaced people.

Displaced Congolese have reportedly been pouring out of the area since the start of September.

Escorted by MONUC, the WFP convoy travelled to Karuba where families were found escaping the fighting on foot in the direction of Goma.

In Goma, the WFP proceeded to unload supplies to feed 18,800 displaced people in Kitembo and Minova. But clashes in Shasa forced the agency to suspend the departure of the trucks headed for Kitembo and Minova.

WFP has voiced concern about the fate of approximately 150,000 displaced people in Masisi, Rutshuru and Kalehe. Most have been displaced for more than six months, and have not received food aid since August.

In North Kivu, MONUC and the humanitarian community are currently working on the coordination of a contingency plan to be able to best protect and help people affected by fighting in the province, Mr. Saiki said.

Meanwhile in Ituri, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process continues, with a total of 1,700 disarmed fighters laying down their arms, including 570 from the Revolutionary Congolese Movement (MRC), 270 from the Nationalistic and Integrationist Forces (FNI) and 870 from the Forces of Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI).

The DDR programme is expected to end this week, according to MONUC, which is working with the Congolese Army to prompt the groups to disarm.

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