Doctors without Borders: DRC violence leaves civilians in need

March 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 3 (UPI) -- Lingering conflict and a lack of adequate healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo has a devastating impact on civilians, Doctors without Borders said.

Doctors without Borders published a 68-page paper Monday on the situation in DRC, mired in conflict for more than a year.

Conflict abated in DRC last year when members of the March 23 Movement agreed to end its rebel campaign following peace talks in neighboring Uganda. International human rights groups, however, say M23 is just one of a dozen other armed groups fighting in DRC's eastern provinces.

Annemarie Loof, an operational manager for the aid group, said in a statement the healthcare system in DRC is "hardly functioning" and the general lack of security was making a challenging situation even worse for civilians.

"All of these factors have had a catastrophic effect on the health of the people of eastern DRC," she said in a statement.

The aid organization said Monday most of the people in DRC in need of some form of humanitarian assistance can't get it because of the security situation or because of the general lack of infrastructure. Aid workers, meanwhile, continue to be the target of attacks, it said.

Doctors without Borders said all parties to the conflict in DRC should respect the safety of healthcare workers. Government officials and others with an interest in DRC's stability are encouraged to remove any financial barriers that could stand in the way of relief, it added.

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