More than 5,000 displaced people in eastern DR of Congo return home, UN says

3 August 2005

With security having been re-established in a town in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are returning home voluntarily, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.

UN peacekeeping troops, DRC Government troops and the national police have made significant progress in providing 24-hour security in Bunia, a college town, and its surrounding areas, and therefore, humanitarian aid programmes, including food and water distribution, sanitation, health facilities and education for the IDPs will be terminated at the end of this month, it said.

Of the 5,487 people left in the IDP camp run by the international non-governmental organization (NGO) Atlas Logistique, only 960 people are considered vulnerable and will continue to receive humanitarian assistance from a local NGO after the August deadline, OCHA said.

"The site no longer represents a humanitarian concern, so we are encouraging the IDPs to return home and take advantage of ongoing community reintegration projects in their communities," OCHA quoted Atlas Logistique's Yannick Bézy as saying.

Each returning family receives direct assistance of two months food rations and some non-food items, OCHA added.


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