Some 70,000 flee DR.Congo unrest: UN

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Around 70,000 people have in recent weeks fled violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's Nord-Kivu province, the United Nations said Tuesday.

"A new wave of displacements was registered in the Grand Nord of the Nord-Kivu province," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In the region of Beni, in particular, "approximately 20,000 people are reported having left their homes due to the recent military operations between the Congolese national army and the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for Liberation of Uganda," she said, citing findings of a UN assessment made on June 29.

Civil society sources in the Lubero region report that another 10,000 families or 50,000 people have fled looting and other abuses committed by Rwandan Hutu rebels FDLR, added the spokeswoman.

Even aid organisations are being attacked, with several cases of such violence reported last week in Nord-Kivu province.

"A total of 68 attacks involving humanitarian organisations and their staff were reported since the beginning of 2010," said Byrs.

Beyond the challenges on the ground, the UN also raised concerns that funds were insufficient to keep programmes going.

The UN has received only 335 million dollars of the 827 million required in the country this year, said Byrs.

If funding were halted, 180,000 infants under one would not obtain essential vaccination, 100,000 children under five would not be able to receive malaria treatment and prevention material, and 200,000 children suffering from serious malnutrition would not get help.

In addition, up to 400,000 people would not be reached by water and sanitation services, while 10,000 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence would not obtain medical and psychosocial care.

© 2010 AFP

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