UNHCR prepares aid for new refugees in DR of Congo

3 July 2001

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is making preparations to dispatch aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to assist thousands of refugees from the Central African Republic before the coming rainy season, a spokesman for the agency said today.

"UNHCR is preparing to send urgently-needed shelter material and basic household supplies to an estimated 25,000 refugees who recently arrived in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo from the Central African Republic," spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.

"Many of the refugees fled with few belongings and are living among the local population around Zongo, often in very rudimentary shelter," said Mr. Redmond. "We're worried that the onset of the rainy season will make it even worse, so we're sending plastic sheeting and other household items."

The refugees, who fled tensions following a failed coup attempt in late May, are reportedly scattered across 20 villages in the area, according to UNHCR. They are in "in relatively good physical condition," Mr. Redmond said. While the first group of refugees crossed into the DRC more than two weeks ago, others were still arriving by late last week.

 

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