November, 2008

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Posted by: | Posted on: November 11, 2008

Crisis in the Congo

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there is another crisis unfolding in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where fighting between rebel troops and government forces threaten the health of millions of people.  An estimated 200,000 have already fled due to the fighting, many of whom are sick, injured, and in desperate need of food, shelter, and medical care.

International Medical Corps Warns of Looming Humanitarian Catastrophe and Wider Regional Impact. As fighting resumed Friday in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and rebels appeared poised to seize Goma, International Medical Corps is deeply concerned that a humanitarian catastrophe could unfold and quickly spread across the region.In addition to ongoing efforts in DRC, International Medical Corps is also preparing a regional response to the situation and currently has teams mobilized in Uganda and Burundi to deliver assistance to the potential influx of new refugees.“The delivery of life-saving medical and nutrition services has already been severely curtailed,” said Pierre Willems, International Medical Corps’ Country Director in DRC.  “With the resumption of fighting, even more people will be displaced and in need of care, and yet we fear the humanitarian corridor for delivering assistance is narrowing drastically by the hour.” There is also the imminent danger of disease outbreaks; so far, more than 100 cases of cholera have been reported, along with numerous deaths.

An estimated 200,000 civilians have fled fighting between government and rebel troops in adding to the estimated one million people displaced by an escalation of hostilities in the region a year ago.Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda declared a unilateral ceasefire over the weekend, and so far it has held. However, a rebel spokesman has said the groundwork is being laid for a generalized war in the region.

 

International Medical Corps has been operating in the most volatile regions of DRC since the mid-90’s. In North Kivu province, where much of the recent fighting has taken place, IMC runs primary health care clinics and nutrition programs that serve more than 300,000 people.

The following people are available for interviews:
In Goma – Pierre Willems, Country Director
In Bukavu – Selam Kebrom, Desk Officer
In Washington, D.C. – Ben Hemingway, Deputy Director of Operations

Photos and Video also available.

For more information, visit website at www.imcworldwide.org.Here is a photo gallery of the conflict from the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2008/10/30/GA2008103002477.html

Here are some links to recent articles on the conflict:

From NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/world/africa/10congo.html

From AP: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-AF-Congo-Fighting.html

From Reuters: http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnJOE4A701R.html

 

 

 

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