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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to ensure food is supplied to the population in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. (89868)

Ituri is one of the areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo most affected by insecurity. Current estimates from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) suggest that there are over 200,000 internally displaced people (IDPs). The worst affected area is around the villages of Gety and Aveba, where over 40,000 people have sought shelter in camps. Attacks on these IDPs and on international non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff by rebel groups make it extremely difficult to provide support for these people, many of whom had been hiding in the surrounding forests for some time. Shortages in food supplies and logistical constraints have compounded a very serious humanitarian situation.

However the situation has now stabilised and food and other support is reaching people in the camps. Food rations supplied by the World Food Programme (WFP) were being distributed in Gety during the visit of one of DFID’s humanitarian experts in the second half of September. Additional resources have been allocated to WFP in DRC this year to cover food, transport and logistics costs through the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) and the DRC Humanitarian Pooled Fund. Both these funds were established with strong encouragement from DFID and the UK is a major contributor to both.

The people of Ituri region are likely to continue to suffer from uncertainty and instability and we and our partners in the UN and NGOs will continue to monitor the situation closely.