Civilians flee fresh fighting in eastern DR CongoListen /
More than 19,000 people have been displaced over the past one week in the North Kivu Province of Democratic Republic of the Congo as government troops battle soldiers loyal to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda.
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR says most of the displaced are seeking shelter in Goma.
Another 4,100 mainly of women children and the elderly have fled to neighbouring Rwanda.
UNHCR says insecurity and fighting between government troops and rebel groups in North and South Kivu provinces has displaced over 300,000 people since the beginning of the year.
Adrian Edwards is a UNHCR spokesperson
"Hundreds are sleeping in a school and church at the spontaneous site, while about 1,000 people are heading southwards to South Kivu. We are working with our partners to provide help including shelter and other non-food items. Our protection staff are in the field monitoring needs. UNHCR is appealing to all sides to urgently allow humanitarian access to these vulnerable groups and to respect their rights, including the rights to safety, medical help and freedom of movement. We stress how important it is to maintain the civilian character of the camps and we urge the provincial authorities to increase security in and around the camps where possible."