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ICRC: Eastern DRC in dire straits

Aug. 21, 2013 at 10:50 AM

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- People residing in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are living in a constant state of fear, a regional delegate from the Red Cross said.

The United Nations and members of the human rights community have expressed concern about ongoing turmoil in eastern DRC. The rebel March 23 Movement is suspected of committing crimes against humanity. M23 briefly took control over parts of the region last year.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said people are fleeing the hostilities in droves. The humanitarian situation there is critical, the organization said.

"Communities in the most unstable areas of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo live in constant fear," ICRC regional chief Alessandra Menegon said in a statement Tuesday. "Some are even forced to move away to escape the fighting, threats and looting."

Martin Kobler, U.N. special envoy to DRC, spent three days touring the eastern provinces to get a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

The United Nations estimates DRC fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people and left 6.4 million in need of some form of emergency aid.

Kobler said he'd do everything in his power to address the problems facing eastern DRC.

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