GENEVA, Switzerland, November 30, 2021 / APO Group / –
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is shocked by a series of deadly attacks by armed groups against displaced people in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In the latest incident, 26 people were killed on Sunday at the Ndjala site in the Drodro health zone in Ituri province, according to local authorities. Ten women and nine children were among the dead and 11 people were injured. The attackers used pistols, machetes and knives.
On November 21, a group of militias attacked Drodro and Tché, another place for displaced people. Authorities said 44 people died in Drodro and more than 1,200 shelters were destroyed. Almost 1,000 shelters were destroyed in Tché.
Up to 20,000 residents fled to Rhoe in search of safety near the military base of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The site doubled in size from 21,000 to 40,500 in less than 48 hours, forcing newly arrived families to sleep outdoors. The main needs are food, housing and healthcare, as well as psychosocial assistance.
In other parts of the east of the country, an armed group attacked a place for displaced people in the town of Mikenge in South Kivu on November 14, killing six children and a pregnant woman. Eight others were wounded by machetes and bullets. The inhabitants fled and their shelters were destroyed.
The attacks, stemming in part from inter-community tensions, exacerbate the problems faced by internally displaced persons. Livestock theft, which often accompanies raids, deepens economic insecurity and violence adds to the distress of people who have been forced to flee their homes at least once. It also instills fear in local populations.
A staggering 5.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an increase of 400,000 people compared to early 2021. Most live in host communities, but more than 330,000 they are sheltering in places of displacement.
UNHCR calls on all parties to respect the civil and humanitarian character of places of displacement, where both internally displaced persons and the local population are being attacked in their homes. UNHCR also calls on the parties to guarantee access to the sites so that humanitarian actors can provide essential assistance.
UNHCR is seeking more financial support for its underfunded operations to better support internally displaced persons. We have received only 52% of the US $ 204.8 million needed to provide vital assistance to persons of concern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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