Aid to Internally Displaced Persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Posted by Darlene Mauldin
April 5, 2013
Internally Displaced Congolese Child Takes Refuge in the Eastern Congo

Nearly two decades of fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between government forces and armed groups have forced millions of people to flee their homes countrywide. Over the past year, humanitarian conditions have continued to worsen due to escalating violence that has displaced even more communities and renewed safety and security concerns. Tensions and large-scale displacement have affected the southeastern Katanga and North Kivu provinces especially hard in recent months. In Katanga, the UN recorded a more than five-fold increase of internally displaced persons (IDPs) over the past year, from approximately 55,000 IDPs in January 2012 to more than 358,000 in December 2012. To make matters worse, people in Katanga are facing the worst cholera epidemic in the area since 2007.

USAID has responded to urgent needs by airlifting more than $270,000 worth of emergency relief supplies, such as blankets, kitchen utensils, water containers, and plastic sheeting. These commodities were transported from USAID's warehouse in Dubai and flown to Katanga Province on March 11 to be distributed by UNICEF and other partners on the ground. The plastic sheeting will be used to help families build latrines, while the water containers will make gathering drinking water easier. Ensuring people have an adequate supply of safe drinking water will help mitigate the spread of cholera.

"The delivery of this equipment now allows us to support UNICEF in pursuit of a common goal: to help the most vulnerable populations and disaster victims, especially children affected by the conflict," said Jay Nash, Senior Humanitarian Advisor for USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance in the DRC.

Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared on the USAID Impact Blog.



Ashim C.
April 7, 2013

Ashim C. in India writes:

South Asians too have this problem. Mllions of Kashmere Pandits had to leave their home & hearth in Kashmir valley under threat of terrorist. Their conditions are not as pathetic as displaced persons elsewhere in the world. But it is strange that no one even talks about their deprivations.

Lands & buildings of Pundits have been occupied by Muslim Kashmeres. It is not hard to imagine that these illegal occupants of properties of Kashmiri pundits constitute the support base of separatists largely as these illegal occupants fear loss of their property if normalcy returns. Bigger problem of Kashmir is not visible in the horizon and can wait but what prevents identification of illegally occupied properties and evacuation of illegal muslim occupants. It is believed that separatists political outfits of Kashmir have made a business of dealing in vacated property and are said to have collected large sums of money and monthly protection fees from occupiers. This mean aspect of separatists gets lost in the din that they create about independence of Kashmir, which serves the separatist well in spreading the message of illusory gains to simple Kashmiri muslim population.

International community must take note of this problem of Kashmiri Pundits. By ignoring and tolerating it, international community is only adding another inhuman dimension to a political problem, which is perpetuating because of many strong vested interests. It should be realised by millitants and separatists that Kashmir is so beautiful, it needs only tourism infrastructure and peace to develop vibrant tourism from 250 million Indian middle alone to solve most of their material problems. They should also realise that like they have a right to take a political position, the state of India has a right to suppress any anti-state activity with force without being accused of human rights violation. In last 30 years or more they have said and done enough to create conditions justifying such use of force.

It is great that international community is showing concern about plight of displaced persons in Congo and other places in Africa, Afhanistan, Tibet etc but not about the similar problem of Kashmiri Pundits in India. In this context, one has no shame in admitting India has had a history of communal violence like 2002 Gujarat riots but neither the the rightist hindu parties of India nor the state or federal government allow muslim persecution to continue. There is indeed a deeply ingrained thought that developed through pricess of rise of Indian nationalism that in India all the major and minority communities have to live together in peace and harmony. Separatits of Kashmir seem to have no appreciation of this.


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