The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Bruno Lemarquis, expressed deep concern over the recent surge in violence in North Kivu province.
“The humanitarian community is profoundly concerned by serious violations of international humanitarian law committed recently, with clashes claiming the lives of many civilians, including women and children, particularly in Mweso where a bombardment in a residential neighborhood on 25 January killed 19 people and injured over 20,” said Mr. Lemarquis.
Parties to the conflict are reminded of their duty to protect civilians, who should never be targeted by the hostilities, and their right to safely access humanitarian assistance.
The humanitarian consequences of this recent escalation are alarming. Around 8,000 internally displaced persons have now sought refuge near Mweso Hospital, and their lives might be at risk if fighting intensifies near this critical lifeline facility. The Mweso health zone currently hosts over 251,000 people in urgent need of assistance.
Mr. Lemarquis stressed, “It is crucial to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers and civilians to allow assistance to reach those in need and prevent deterioration of the humanitarian situation.”
This resurgence of violence underscores the suffering endured for years by civilian populations affected by the conflict in North Kivu, where over 2.5 million people have been displaced, and currently have limited access to essential services.
Despite growing access constraints, humanitarian partners remain committed to providing the necessary aid and support to affected communities. “Support for ongoing political processes is essential to achieve lasting peace and stability in eastern DRC, where populations have endured decades of hardship and rightly aspire to live safely,” reminded Bruno Lemarquis.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).