Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Step up relief efforts in Katanga, OCHA urges


NAIROBI, 24 Mar 2006 (IRIN) - Humanitarian actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must increase efforts to resolve "critical" food shortages and lack of protection for at least 150,000 war-displaced people in Katanga Province, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.

In a report on Tuesday detailing the findings of a joint mission it conducted to the province last week together with the International Council of Voluntary Agencies - a Geneva-based global network of NGOs - OCHA said UN agencies and humanitarian organisations should respond urgently to the humanitarian crisis in central Katanga.

The mission said national and international response to the evolving humanitarian crisis in Katanga remained woefully inadequate.

The displaced people fled their homes in the last six months following fighting between Congolese army troops and Mayi-Mayi militiamen.

"Many others remain trapped or hidden in remote and inaccessible locations, making it likely that the actual figure is much higher than 150,000," OCHA said. "Many of these people are living in appalling conditions with alarmingly high malnutrition and mortality rates."

The joint mission visited three sites in Katanga: Mitwaba, Malemba Nkulu and Dubie. Of these, OCHA said, the mission found the most alarming situation in Dubie, where 16,000 displaced people were living in three over-crowded camps.

In one of the camps where 9,000 people were living, it added, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) had reported that 10 to 20 people were dying every week of malnutrition-related diseases.

"Because of the lack of food, and in spite of its repeated warnings and requests for help, MSF reports that over the last few months malnutrition rates in these camps have been getting worse, not better," OCHA said.

It said that in January, MSF - which remains the only international humanitarian actor on the ground in Mitwaba and Dubie - gave an informal briefing to the UN Security Council describing central Katanga as "perhaps the most forgotten crisis in a country beleaguered by several under-reported humanitarian emergencies".

In Dubie, apart from MSF feeding programmes for the severely malnourished, the only food distribution for the displaced was at the end of January, when they received from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) enough food to last for 14 days, OCHA said.

"Apart from the severe food shortage, protection is a major concern," OCHA said. "In both Dubie and Mitwaba we witnessed traumatized displaced populations - victims of repeated abuse by both the Mayi Mayi and Congolese army troops. A number of those interviewed spoke of horrific atrocities committed by the Mai Mai. Now many of them are being victimised again, this time by the Congolese army."

Among the mission's recommendations were a rapid response to critical food shortages in Dubie, Mitwaba and others parts of the province; and the deployment of UN and NGO staff to help monitor protection needs in the province.

Under food security, the mission recommended that WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization should lead the efforts to respond to the serious food shortages facing the displaced.

"WFP should also ensure appropriate monitoring/supervision during food distributions," the mission said. "In addition, planning should begin now to ensure that seeds and tools are provided before the next planting season."

It said the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, should take the lead in ensuring the deployment of appropriate UN and NGO staff to help monitor and follow up on protection needs in Katanga, particularly among the 150,000 newly displaced people.

Regarding increased UN presence in the province, the mission recommended that the UN immediately open antenna offices in both Mitwaba and Dubie. These offices would liaise with local authorities and the military to better protect the civilian population; and provide administrative and logistical support to UN agencies and NGOs that deploy to these places.

OCHA also recommended that the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, immediately establish a presence in Mitwaba and Dubie.

"If MONUC is unable to establish a permanent presence in these places, OCHA recommends that it immediately initiate regular patrols to these places, by helicopter," it said.

@Congoplanet |

Related articles

  1. Moise Katumbi blocked from entering DR Congo (August 3, 2018)
  2. At least 60 killed as train derails in Katanga province (April 23, 2014)
  3. Thousands of Women March Against M23 Rebels in Kinshasa (November 24, 2012)
  4. Opposition Supporters Step Up Attacks on Congolese Officials Abroad (February 28, 2012)
  5. Kabila's Senior Advisor Katumba Mwanke Dies in Plane Crash (February 12, 2012)
  6. Tshisekedi Says He Won, Can He Prove It? (December 17, 2011)
  7. Supreme Court Rules Joseph Kabila Won Presidential Election (December 16, 2011)
  8. Kabila Leads Partial Election Results (December 3, 2011)
  9. Vote Counting Underway after Mostly Peaceful Elections (November 29, 2011)
  10. Candidates to Make Last Stand in Kinshasa before Monday's Election (November 26, 2011)
  11. Tshisekedi: UDPS Has Never Been for a Joint Opposition Candidacy (November 19, 2011)
  12. On the Campaign Trail, Kabila, Tshisekedi Cross Paths in Eastern Congo (November 15, 2011)
  13. UN advises prudent use of abundant resources to spur development (October 10, 2011)
  14. The Government Will Ensure Peaceful Elections, Says Spokesman (October 6, 2011)
  15. 19,497 Candidates to Run for 500 Seats in Parliament (September 26, 2011)
  16. Kabila's Election Speech Leads to Judges' Strike (September 20, 2011)
  17. Tshisekedi Draws Huge Crowds in Kinshasa (August 10, 2011)
  18. Security Council extends mandate of UN mission in DR Congo (June 28, 2011)
  19. Rights Groups: Strengthen Civilian Protection Before Elections (June 9, 2011)
  20. Global Witness welcomes DR Congo's decision to publish resource contracts (June 3, 2011)
  21. Militiamen Sent to Testify in Warlords Trials at ICC (March 28, 2011)
  22. UN Sanctions FDLR Leaders, CNDP Rebel Commander Integrated into Army (December 2, 2010)
  23. UN launches patrols to head off rebel violence during holiday season (December 1, 2010)
  24. ICC Dismisses Jean-Pierre Bemba's Appeal on Admissibility of His Case (October 19, 2010)
  25. Congo Defense Minister Rejects UN Allegations against Army (October 17, 2010)
  26. FDLR leader Callixte Mbarushimana arrested in France on ICC warrant (October 11, 2010)
  27. Rebel leader presumed responsible for mass rape arrested (October 5, 2010)
  28. UN DR Congo Report Exposes Grave Crimes (October 1, 2010)
  29. TP Mazembe boss fumes over ban (September 14, 2010)
  30. TP Mazembe boss oozes confidence (September 9, 2010)

Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play

Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© All rights reserved.