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UNICEF relief operation to assist 50,000 displaced in eastern DRC

BUNIA, 7 February 2005 - UNICEF DRC, working together with its partners, has begun a new humanitarian assistance operation in the district of Ituri in Eastern DRC that will reach out to some 10,000 families in the areas most affected by recent outbreaks of violence perpetrated against civilian population by armed factions throughout the months of January. The most affected area is the territory of Djugu just north of Bunia. Most of the villages have been looted and burned down by armed factions, and several reports have been made of civilians being killed and women and girls abducted. These villages are completely deserted and the population has been displaced throughout the Djugu territory. While not all the displaced population is yet accessible, at least 10,000 families have regrouped in 4 sites out of which 3 are currently being protected by MONUC peacekeeping forces.

In collaboration with some of its partner organisations like CESVI, OXFAM and German Agro Action and within the coordinated UN response framework, UNICEF is currently undertaking a major relief operation to assist 50,000 internally displaced persons who are currently accessible. The interventions cover water and sanitation, shelter and cooking materials and high protein biscuits for vulnerable children. Planning is underway for the organisation of a measles vaccination campaign and emergency education programme for displaced children.

UNICEF DRC obtained financial and material assistance to the tune of US$ 4,200,000 for its Rapid Response Fund (RRF) and can now respond within 48 hours to any acute humanitarian crisis working through partner organizations. This facility and other donor’s contributions have enabled UNICEF to put in place 80 tonnes of high protein energy biscuits, 28,000 family emergency kits (catering for 150,000 displaces persons) and various water equipment, allowing for an immediate response to any major internal displacement of populations. The Rapid Response Fund is being supported by DFID and the Norwegian government.

For more information, contact:

Gianfranco Rotlgliano, UNICEF Representative, DRC Tel: ++243 (0)818843781;

Johannes Wedenig, Chief Eastern Zonal Office Tel: ++243 (0)818305901;

Joyce Brandful, CommunicationOfficer Kinshasa Tel: ++243 (0)818846746





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