Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Humanitarian Disaster Unfolds in Eastern DRC

A Humanitarian Disaster Unfolds in Eastern DRC

By Michael Deibert

Inter Press Service

KIBUMBA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mar 1, 2007 (IPS) - In a mist-shrouded valley between the Mount Nyiragongo volcano and a pair of its dormant cousins looming in Rwanda to the east, nearly 3,000 souls wait in limbo, having fled a conflict that has succeeded in making this lush corner in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nothing less than hell on earth for its people.

"We arrived here fleeing the war," says Gilbert Naimrwango, president of the Kibumba camp's displaced persons association and a primary school teacher in his former life, speaking amidst a sprawling collection of grass and banana-leaf huts covered with thin sheets of tarpaulin. As he speaks, he is surrounded by dozens of other residents and shoeless children, some with distended bellies and reddish hair that suggest severe malnutrition. "Life here is very complicated, and we have much difficulty finding food."

"Here we are with women and children, with little food, little water, where bandits can get us," adds Rusigariye Nubaha, a 54-year-old farmer who says he fled conflict in the district of Rutshuru, to the north, in late November.

The camp took shape in November 2007 amidst brutal fighting between army forces loyal to President Joseph Kabila, backed by the government's local paramilitary allies such as the Patriotes Résistants Congolais (Congolese Resistance Patriots, PARECO), and the army of renegade general Laurent Nkunda. An ethnic Tutsi, Nkunda leads the Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (National Congress for the Defence of the People, CNDP), a politico-military organisation.

Read the full article here.

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