|ICRC Activities in Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo: 1994 - 3 February 1999 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 124 p.)|
6 November 1996
Since 2 November over one million displaced Zairians, Rwandan refugees and Burundian refugees in Kivu province have been cut off from all humanitarian protection and assistance. Even their exact location and the nature and extent of their basic needs are unknown. The populations needs are, however, largely predictable, taking into account the conflict situation, the general developments and the fact that the rainy season has just begun in eastern Zaire.
The ICRCs most urgent concern is to obtain access to the populations affected and to establish minimum security conditions for humanitarian field workers. To achieve this, clear political decisions will have to be taken by the governments and political organizations concerned.
The ICRC is holding intense discussions with the Zairian authorities in Kinshasa to obtain the necessary security guarantees for its redeployment in Kivu province. Efforts are also being made to be given similar guarantees from the various armed forces present in the province. The necessary contacts have been established with the Rwandan authorities.
Emergency planning is currently underway for an extended ICRC operation in eastern Zaire in the areas of Health, Water and Sanitation, and Relief. Protection activities and the work of the Tracing Agency will be a further important element of the overall task. Because of the many uncertainties surrounding the general situation, it is too early to publish an operational plan and mobilize precise quantities of relief items. As already mentioned in Update No. 2, the ICRC has sufficient food stocks to supply approximately 500,000 people for one month, and stocks of non-food articles (blankets, tarpaulins, cooking spots, soap etc.) for approximately 450,000 people.. Stocks of water and sanitation equipment and medical emergency material for the initial phase of an operation are also ready in the region.
As soon as a large scale operation becomes possible, the ICRC will call on Participating National Societies to mobilize additional resources as needed.
The ICRC is currently putting together several teams, which will re-enter eastern Zaire as soon as possible to determine the location of needy populations and to assess their needs. The ICRC is asking Participating National Societies to ensure that they will be able to mobilize personnel rapidly should the need arise. Medical personnel, water and sanitation technicians and relief and logistic specialists will probably be the most urgently needed.