Date Published: 19 March 2009
With UNICEF, Solidarités distributes supplies in north-east DRC
Following the establishment of an air route few days ago between Bunia and Doruma in the North-East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), distribution has begun in Doruma of 25 tons of emergency relief supplies provided by UNICEF. The distribution exercise is being handled by the international NGO Solidarités to 3,000 displaced families. They comprise non-food items (NFIs) and supplies for the urgently required interventions in the area of water and sanitation.
Since the beginning of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) attacks last
December and January, this is the first opportunity where security conditions
allow emergency relief to be provided to thousands of people who have fled some
20 neighbouring villages. According to a survey held at the end of February
by Solidarités, on the ground since February 13, 2009, as part of the
Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) set up in partnership with UNICEF, it is estimated
that there are currently 15,000 displaced people, or approximately 3,000 families
Some 30 % of the displaced people live in host families, while the others have settled in spontaneous camps, sleep in the open air or in makeshift shelters, without any protection against the harsh weather. Torrential rains have been pouring regularly in Doruma since mid-February, worsening living conditions. Finally, sanitation conditions are alarming as there is not a hygienic latrine system in place and the rate of declared waterborne diseases has exploded since January.
"We are extremely concerned by the impact on these women and children of the atrocities committed by the militia over the last two months and by the security conditions still threatening the population," says Julien Harneis, Chief of the UNICEF East Zonal Office.
In addition to security concerns, Mr. Harneis insists that in such crisis situation, children and women remain the most vulnerable to precarious living conditions, to diseases related to unhealthy sanitation and to the lack of clean drinking water, as well as to violations of their fundamental human rights.
In response to this crisis and in order to contribute to the survival of thousands of women and children, Solidarités is distributing much-needed kits of non-food items (NFIs) provided by UNICEF. They contain plastic sheeting for sleeping under a roof protecting against the weather and against malaria or respiratory infections, blankets, pagnes, jerry cans and soap.
To prevent outbreaks of cholera and chronic diarrhoea ? both extremely contagious ? the emergency supplies provided through the Water and Sanitation (WASH) component of the RRM programme supported by UNICEF is comprised of wood, plastic sheeting and other materials for the construction of 150 hygienic emergency latrines, as well as chlorine and water purification tablets that have allowed the installation of 10 chlorination points out of which 9 have been operational since mid-February.
"This operation has required a complex logistical planning: air transport (in 9 rotation flights) between Bunia and Doruma and delivery on bicycles and motorcycles of all the supplies to a warehouse," states Stéphane Moulem, Chief of Mission of Solidarités in Ituri and Haut-Uélé. Furthermore, he adds that "over 15 Solidarités agents, personnel of the various local partners and of the United Nations system, as well as volunteers from the community, have contributed so far to the delivery and the distribution of these relief supplies to the displaced families and host families who have lost almost everything."
This humanitarian response to this crisis affecting thousands of people ? children, women and entire families in Doruma ? has been made possible through the financial contributions of the DFID (Department for International Development, UK), USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the Government of Japan.Africa, DR Congo