Alarm as DR Congo displacement crisis sees 71,000 flee in three months

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A woman and her baby take shelter at Don Bosco Orphanage in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. (file photo) © Kate Holt/IRIN

Looting, torture and rape in Democratic Republic of Congo's so-called "triangle of death" has pushed up the numbers of internally displaced to nearly 600,000 people in one province alone.

That's the latest information from the UN refugee agency, which says that more than 71,000 people fled their homes in resource-rich Katanga province in the last three months.

UNHCR has helped nearly 1,600 victims of sexual violence between January and October but fears the real numbers may be much higher.

Agency spokesperson Karin De Gruijl has more :

"We fear that this number might be higher because of lack of access and the fear that many of them have to report this violence.  Not all of them have access to healthcare, psychological and social support and legal assistance."  (14″)

UNHCR says the humanitarian situation is "catastrophic" as many people don't have access to basic services while clashes continue between the Luba and Twa communities.

There are only 28 camps in northern Katanga and 19 children have died at one site since March, mainly from diarrhoea, anaemia and malaria.

Nine women also passed away giving birth there, according to the agency.

DRC has nearly 2.6 million homeless victims and Katanga has the third highest tally for internally displaced after north and south Kivu.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1"23


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