The United Nations humanitarian wing has allocated over $12 million to help nearly 200,000 people in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) cope with the lingering consequences of a series of attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Elizabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told reporters in Geneva that the majority of the grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) – over $6 million – will go towards ensuring food security.
The World Food Programme (WFP) will use the funds to provide assistance to stabilize food security among some 160,000 people, particularly children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, in the remote north-eastern Haut-Uélé and Bas-Uélé regions.
According to the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC, known as MONUC, some 1,100 people have been killed by the LRA between December 2008 and January 2009, while hundreds have been abducted and 200,000 uprooted. Attacks by the group, notorious for abducting children as soldiers and sex slaves, have continued in recent months in parts of the DRC.
CERF was created in 2006 to allow the UN quick access to its accounts, potentially saving thousands of lives facing sudden crises. Administered by OCHA, the Fund has so far disbursed well over $1 billion to emergency programmes in 67 countries.