UN: Conditions ‘Extremely Bad’ For DRC Refugees

Posted August 8th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations humanitarian agency says the thousands who have fled violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are living in desperate conditions.

The U.N. says nearly 280,000 people have left North Kivu province in recent weeks, many of them abruptly.

Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos tells VOA many are sheltering inside public buildings. Others, including children and the elderly, are living out in the open.

She says heavy rains have been making conditions even more dire for refugees and aid groups trying to help them.

“The conditions are extremely bad. Because of course what has happened is that people have just fled with very few possessions. We're then having to try to go in to provide basic services, water, sanitation, health care, food. The camp I visited today, there is no water. The water is having to be trucked in.”

Amos visited a camp near the provincial capital, Goma, on Wednesday.

Rebel group M23 has seized parts of North Kivu and won battles against the Congolese army.

Central African leaders holding talks on the situation ended meetings in Kampala on Wednesday with a commitment to send neutral forces into the region. But the group failed to agree on the makeup of the international force.

The talks included leaders from Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. They are expected to meet again next month to further discuss the matter.

Tensions have been rising recently between Rwanda and the DRC, after a U.N. report accusing Rwanda of actively supporting M23. Rwanda has denied that claim.

The Tutsi rebel group is made up of Congolese army soldiers who mutinied earlier this year.