|ICRC Activities in Rwanda: 1993 - 6 April 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 230 p.)|
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DISPLACED PEOPLE LEAVING GIKONGORO AREA
Following the withdrawal of French troops from the safe zone, ICRC delegates have reported tens of thousands of displaced people on the move from the area north of Gikongoro towards the Zaire border. As yet, no mass exodus of the 250,000 displaced people in nine camps south of Gikongoro seems imminent. The ICRC is distributing about 2,000 tonnes of food monthly in these camps.
The ICRC has also provided medicines, medical supplies, food and a generator to the 150-bed Kigeme hospital, six kilometres from Gikongoro, where local staff are doing remarkable work. The hospital is overwhelmed with patients and the ICRC is considering how best to cope with the serious medical situation, including the possibility of opening another medical facility. Priority is being given to patients suffering from malaria, severe dysentery, acute respiratory infections, meningitis and other conditions prevalent in the camps. The ICRC is already providing assistance to seven dispensaries in the area.
The ICRC has already strengthened its teams in the south-western zone during recent weeks and is sending in ten more doctors and nurses to set up the new medical programme. Some of these staff have been working up to now in Goma, where on 20 August the ICRC closed the field hospital it had installed in the sports centre. The last remaining patients will continue to receive treatment from other humanitarian organizations.
Since there are so many organizations working with refugees in the Goma area, the ICRC will concentrate its efforts on the population inside Rwanda, explained Johanna Grombach, head of the ICRCs new Ruhengeri subdelegation. Here in Ruhengeri we are ready to assist up to 350,000 refugees returning from Zaire, she added.
Further information: Tony Burgener, ICRC
Tel: + +41 22 730 2317
Four-year-old Nyesha has not seen his parents for four months, and has had to fend for himself. Last Monday he almost lost his life trying to get on the last truck of the day taking displaced people across the Ruzizi II bridge to refugee camps in Zaire. When about a hundred people surged forward to try to board the truck, Nyesha was trampled underfoot. Luckily a photographer saw what was happening and managed to extricate him. An ICRC delegate who was at the scene immediately took the little boy to a hospital in Bukavu, where he is on the way to recovery.
The Ruzizi II incident was filmed by ITN television. As soon as British viewers saw the pictures, hundreds of people phoned ITN offering donations to the Red Cross.
Nyesha is only one of tens of thousands of Rwandan children who have become separated from their parents. More than 5,000 of them have already been registered by the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations in the hope that they can be reunited with their families.