Aid agencies suspend operations as fighting rages in Goma

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A displaced woman cooking in Kanyaruchinya camp.
UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

Humanitarian agencies have temporarily suspended their operations in parts of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as fighting escalates around the city of Goma.

Most agencies operating in Eastern DR Congo have their operations based in the eastern town of Goma.

Fighting has escalated over the past week as government forces and the rebel group M23 battle for the control of Goma.

UN aid agencies say the fighting has complicated humanitarian operations as aid workers have also been targeted.

The agencies are appealing to parties in the conflict to respect the neutrality of humanitarian workers and allow aid distribution to continue unhindered.

The fighting has displaced up to 60,000 people who were living at Kanyaruchinya IDP camp some 10 kilometers from Goma.

The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF fears there could be a spike in cholera cases as those displaced may not have access to sanitation and clean water services.

Adrian Edwards is from the UN Refugee agency UNHCR.

"Currently, we are especially concerned by the situation around Goma, where there has been significant new displacement over the last few days. The M23 rebel advance has prompted many people to flee towards Goma and Rwanda. Around Goma, women and children are reported to be converging at Mugunga 3 and other spontaneous settlements. Many humanitarian activities have been suspended because of the security situation. Since the beginning of this year, renewed conflict in these two regions has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation and uprooted close to 650,000 people."  

The United Nations estimates that there are over 1.6 million internally displaced persons in Eastern DR Congo as a result of fighting between the national army and rebel groups in the region.

Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio Geneva.

Duration:  1’58″


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