UN Program Feeds Thousands of Displaced in DRC

Posted June 8th, 2012 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations World Food Program is stepping up aid to thousands of people fleeing violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The WFP said Friday it provided a monthly food ration to nearly 20,000 newly-displaced people in the city of Beni, and warned that demand may grow if violence continues.

The agency also said it will provide food assistance in coming days to another 12,000 internally displaced people gathered at two locations in North Kivu and South Kivu provinces.

Chronic violence in eastern Congo surged again recently with fighting between the army and renegade soldiers who are loyal to militia leader Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

The WFP says 21,000 Congolese have crossed into Uganda, and another 11,000 into Rwanda.

The U.N. agency says that overall, it is providing assistance to 532,000 Congolese refugees and IDPs in the Great Lakes area.

That help comes with a cost, and the World Food Program anticipates a budget shortfall for the three countries of $46 million in the next six months.

The WFP's Regional Director for East and Central Africa, Stanlake Samkange, says it will be critical that the organization gets the resources to help those in need.