From the field - In North Kivu, assisting civilians as frontlines shift

In North Kivu, assisting civilians as frontlines shift - IDPs in Sake, north of Goma, November 23, 2012 - Photo courtesy of Reuters/James Akena

In North Kivu, assisting civilians as frontlines shift - IDPs in Sake, north of Goma, November 23, 2012 - Photo courtesy of Reuters/James Akena

The situation in Goma itself remains tense but as frontlines shift to the west, concerns are growing about the plight of civilians who have fled to surrounding areas.

Massive diplacement occurred over the last days and ICRC teams describe significant humanitarian needs in and near towns like Sake, Masisi, Ruchuru and Kalege.

DR Congo head of delegation Franz Rauchenstein speaks of a traumatised population lacking food, water and access to health care and facing an uncertain future. 

Mr. Rauchenstein explains that the focus for ICRC assistance teams operating out of Goma is now access to more remote areas that were off-limits in recent days due to prevaling insecurity.

From a protection standpoint, continuing armed confrontations are impacting civilians. Our teams are directly engaging armed actors across frontlines, reminding them of their obligation to protect civilians and health care personel and facilities at all times.

While current talks between parties might lead to a solution, the ICRC in the DR Congo is, Mr. Rauchenstein says, preparing for worst case scenarios.