|ICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)|
FOOD AND MEDICAL AID
Hospitals and waterworks are being repaired
Every day, several hundred of the Rwandans who fled to Zaire are now heading home across the border. Whilst the return of these refugees is the only long-term solution, it should take place gradually. Another mass migration, this time back into Rwanda, could spell new disaster.
It is vital that the Rwandans currently returning to their country find adequate food, medical care, hygiene and safety conditions when they arrive. The ICRC has repaired the pumping stations providing drinking water to Gisenye and Ruhengeri, the two main towns in north-western Rwanda. The hospitals there will also be restored to working order. Mcins sans Frontis and Mcins du Monde have set up dispensaries along the routes taken by the refugees on their way home, so that people suffering from dysentery or cholera can be given proper medical care. Every effort must be made to prevent the epidemics which are killing large numbers of refugees in Zaire from spreading into Rwanda.
In addition, the ICRC distributed 50 tonnes of food at the end of July to some 50,000 Rwandans who had returned to the Ruhengeri region.
Soon one million displaced people in Rwanda will be receiving ICRC aid
The ICRC is continuing to step up its food aid distributions for the estimated one to two million displaced people in Rwanda. At present, almost 800,000 of them are receiving food rations in various parts of Rwanda: 370,000 people in the north (Mulindi, Byumba, Rutare), 280,000 in the south-west (Nyarushishi, Gikongoro, Kibuye, Cyangugu), 60,000 in the east (Kibungu, Rusumo), 40,000 in the south (Rilima) and 40,000 in Kigali. In the next few days, food will be distributed to half a million people in the Gikongoro and Kibuye regions alone, bringing the total number of displaced people being helped by the ICRC up to one million. Food is being flown in daily from Nairobi to the airports in Bujumbura, Goma and Cyangugu and then transported up-country by lorry.
Protection of detainees
The ICRC is currently visiting 217 people detained in Kigali and Rilima by the new Rwandan government for reasons connected with the political situation.
In coordination with UNHCR, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC has set up a programme to register all unaccompanied children now scattered throughout Rwanda and the neighbouring countries, so that attempts can be made to trace their parents or close relatives and thus reunite the children with their families. This programme, which will probably involve several tens of thousands of children and represents a formidable task, has only just begun. To date, 1,800 unaccompanied children have been registered in Rwanda, Zaire. Burundi and Tanzania.
Surgical unit in Goma
At the end of July the ICRC established a field hospital in Goma (Zaire), where a surgical team is now caring for some 500 war casualties.
The ICRC is furthermore continuing to distribute about 100 tonnes of food a day to Rwandan refugees in Zaire to supplement the relief operations conducted in the Goma region by the various humanitarian organizations on the spot.
ICRC staff deployment
There are now 145 expatriates working in Rwanda and the neighbouring countries, including 42 members of various European and North American National Societies and the Australian Red Cross, and several hundred local staff.