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Democratic Republic of Congo: Internally Displaced Persons

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of (a) the numbers displaced by the recent fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (b) their humanitarian needs and (c) whether aid is reaching those in need. (233081)

Current estimates of the United Nations (UN) show that 55,000 have been displaced over the past week. This is in addition to some 250,000 displaced since August 2008, bringing the total number of displaced (IDPs) in North Kivu to some 900,000.

From our discussions with UN and NGO partners, we believe the current urgent needs are for food, shelter, non-food items (such as blankets, water containers, hygiene kits) water and sanitation and health.

As access improves and the fighting subsides, some aid is getting through. DFID funded partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and non-governmental partners such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Merlin and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) are providing immediate relief aid in Goma and/or CNDP controlled areas north of Goma.

DFID is one of the largest and most active humanitarian donors in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have recently announced an additional £5 million for North Kivu and this brings our total humanitarian contribution in 2008 for DRC to £42 million. Our assistance will be provided through an in-kind donation of emergency supplies to UNICEF (plastic sheeting, blankets, water purifications tablets and buckets) and financial grants to key partner agencies able to deliver immediate assistance on the ground.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department is providing to civilians internally displaced by the renewed fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (233319)

On Friday 31 October, I announced an additional £5 million for humanitarian needs in North Kivu, bringing our total support for humanitarian needs in DRC during 2008 to £42 million. Part of these funds are being used for relief flights bringing plastic sheeting, blankets, water purification tablets and buckets for immediate distribution to those in need, following a request for help from UNICEF. We are discussing with UN and NGO partners the priorities for the rest of the £5 million.

In addition, our existing support is being used by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and non-governmental partners such as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Merlin and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide immediate relief aid such as emergency food, health, shelter and non-food items.