Hunger Alert in republic of Congo

Posted by: | Posted on: July 31, 2008

The situation in RoC has been volatile ever since hostilities erupted in 2002. Many thousands of people remain displaced by the fighting, and inaccessible to humanitarian agencies.

Some people have succeeded in escaping the conflict area, and finding safety and shelter in camps. Others continue to hide in forests.

Some 80,000 people were forced to flee their homes when violence broke out in the Pool region in March last year.. Three months later, another 20,000 people were displaced by attacks on Brazzaville.

People were left with no choice but to walk for several days in the forest to avoid armed men before taking refuge in camps. Some families were separated, creating female-headed households and unaccompanied children.

Living conditions both in the camps and urban centres is extremely precarious. Most IDPs lost everything in the fighting and are surviving off of relief food as malnutrition rates among the children and elderly rise.

RoC is fighting its hunger against the backdrop of other tragedies: a 7.8 percent HIV/AIDS infection rate among adults and a recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

In March, WFP provided food aid to large communities of people affected by Ebola in the Cuvette region. The virus is being brought under control, but a significant number of people have died. The authorities’ efforts to isolate the spread of Ebola across the border have severely hindered internal trade in an area already struggling to survive.Many people in Cuvette rely on hunting.

The virus also put a further strain on WFP’s already limited resources to assist the people of RoC. The Agency struggles to feed some 34,000 IDPS who fled to the capital Brazzaville after the fighting in Pool. Groups that fled to other areas, such as Bouenza Plateaux and Niari Districts, have recently started to return home. Another estimated 60,000 people are still hiding, trapped in the forest for over six months and cut off from international assistance.

WFP only has about one-third of the US$17 million it needs to respond. .

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