From the field - Rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Kivus

Rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Kivus - Rebel and UN troops near Goma - Photo courtesy of Reuters/James Akema

Rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Kivus - Rebel and UN troops near Goma - Photo courtesy of Reuters/James Akema

 

The North Kivu capital of Goma has seen intense fighting between rebels and Congolese troops over the last few days, raising fears about the welfare of civilians caught in and displaced by the fighting.

Annick Bouvier, ICRC spokesperson in the DR Congo, describes a city deeply affected by violence. ICRC assistance and protection teams are responding to the most urgent needs in spite of a significant security challenges, with a focus on health care and water provision.

Ms. Bouvier explains how in the last three days, delegates were able to recover mortal remains, support local health structures with medicines and surgical kits and remind parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Today, our DRC delegation remains deeply concerned at the plight of the most vulnerable in Goma, in particular for the wounded, the detained and the displaced.

In recent weeks, fighting had also intensified in South Kivu, forcing thousands of civilians to flee their homes, often in remote areas with little or no infrastructure.

Laetitia Courtois, who heads our operations for South Kivu out of Bukavu, spoke to me earlier this week about the deteriorating humanitarian situation there and describes how our teams operate in areas in which twenty-two different armed groups are fighting.