Over a quarter of a million people have been displaced in Rutshuru territory since the beginning of clashes between the M23 rebels and the Democratic Republic of Congo army, FARDC, in March this year.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 262,000 people have fled their homes. Of those displaced, 128,000 have found refuge in Nyiragongo territory. Most, around 88 percent, are being housed in collective centres such as churches, schools and stadia as well as improvised sites, while the rest have been welcomed by individual households.
Seven thousand of these displaced people have crossed the border into Uganda, the UN figures say.
UNOCHA reports that more than 137,000 displaced persons have been prevented from leaving and had to return to their localities of origin in Rutshuru and Rwanguba when fighting intensified in October this year.
“The movements of populations remain dynamic and evolve according to the security context”, the UN agency adds.
The former Kenyan head of state, Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the East African Community (EAC) facilitator for peace in the eastern DR Congo, has called on the international community and humanitarian organisations such as United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and UNOCHA to respond urgently and efficiently to the humanitarian crisis.
The Ituri and North Kivu provinces alone of the DR Congo house 64% of the 5.7 million internally displaced persons in the country.
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