16 May 2003 - Since Sunday 11 May 2003, UNICEF has been involved in regular airlifts of essential humanitarian aid to Bunia, as an immediate response to the acute on-going crisis. So far, six flights carrying 8.5 tons of humanitarian assistance have been dispatched from Goma with the assistance of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO,) MONUC and UNICEF.
A mixed team composed of representatives from UNICEF, OCHA, ECHO, MONUC humanitarian affairs has been in Bunia since Monday to assess the humanitarian needs and to provide prompt response whenever possible.
Today, as field staff report a lull in the fighting, some 8,000 people are expected to receive high protein (BP5) biscuits in two locations: the MONUC compound and the airport.
UNICEF Uganda is on standby with 14.2 metric tons high protein biscuits to send from Kampala to Bunia on a MONUC aircraft as soon as the security situation permits an appropriate distribution of these goods to approximately 20,000 children.
Establishing clean potable water supplies is an absolute priority to avoid an outbreak of epidemics. It is expected that the town's water system will be operational once again today. In the meantime, UNICEF has delivered 4 bladders of 10,000 litres each, as well as 500 kg of chlorine. The water is taken from the river and the bladders are located in the MONUC compound.
UNICEF has pre-positioned emergency supplies in Eastern DRC to provide assistance to approximately 120,000 war displaced people. These stocks are likely to be exhausted in the next few weeks and thus, further support from donors is needed to ensure UNICEF’s continuing response to the emergency needs of children and women in Ituri.
For further information, please contact:
Marc Vergara, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: (41) 022 909 5513
Communication Section, Kinshasa: Tel (00243 )88 4674/(00243) 880 3007
Gordon Weiss, UNICEF New York, Tel: ++ 212 326-7426