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DRC: Aid work in Rutshuru town resumes after riots

NAIROBI, 27 June 2008 (IRIN) - Travel to and work in the adjacent eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Rutshuru and Kiwanja village have resumed after riots curtailed such activities on 23 and 24 June, according to the UN.

"Humanitarian organisations were not able to travel to the towns because of the crowds, demonstrations and barriers that had been erected," Patrick Lavand’Homme, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in North Kivu province, told IRIN by telephone on 27 June.

"After 25 June, the situation improved and some movement restarted. By the end of the week, things were back to normal even though tension could still be felt," he added.

There are several camps for displaced people in the area as well as large numbers of displaced civilians living with the host population.

"Access to fields is very difficult due to the insecurity all around the town and this has dramatically reduced food production and the economy of the two towns," said Lavand’Homme.

Several humanitarian organisations, including the UN’s Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and NGOs such as the French branch of Médecins Sans Frontières, the International Rescue Committee, Secours Catholique, Saving Lives through Alternate Options and Solidarités, operate in the area, providing services ranging from camp coordination and management to water and sanitation, as wealth as health and nutrition, to both the displaced and resident populations.

Earlier in the week residents of the towns had set upon personnel of the UN Mission in DRC, MONUC, after the blue helmets deployed there in the wake of the withdrawal of government forces (FARDC).

FARDC withdrew at MONUC’s request following clashes with troops led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Refugees/IDPs



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