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Published on 18 Nov 2008
UNICEF Communications Specialist Jaya Murthy has been on the ground throughout the latest round of violence and displacement in eastern DR Congo. Here, he reports on a day spent among the displaced.
KIBATI CAMP, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 18 November 2008 In the last two weeks, well over 100,000 people have fled their homes due to fighting and insecurity in eastern DR Congo. Over 35,000 are on the move as I write. In the last two and a half months, around 250,000 people have fled their homes. Some 1.1 million people in North Kivu or 20 per cent of the provinces population are now in displacement.
We spent a day last week in the Kibati settlement for displaced persons, 9 km north of Goma, the provincial capital. Over 60,000 people have settled here since fighting intensified. Thousands of them have fled multiple times. Fleeing from conflict has become 'normal' in their lives.
NICEF and our partners are carrying out emergency measles and polio vaccinations for 13,000 children. Measles is a contagious disease that spreads very quickly when people are on the move. Hundreds of childrens lives are at risk if it is not immediately contained.