Over 70,000 People Displaced Due To Fighting In DRC- UNHCR

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By Spy Uganda

A total of 72,000 people have been displaced in North Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the past week due to heavy fighting between government forces and the M23 rebels, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

Some 7,000 of them have taken refuge across the border in neighbouring Uganda, which according to the UNHCR is already hosting more than 1.5 million refugees. Others have sought shelter away from home across the country, including Goma, the capital of the North Kivu Province, but face serious shortages of food and drinking water.

“Needs heavily outweigh the available assistance, and humanitarian access to the region is severely hampered by the violence. At least 1.9 million people are displaced in North Kivu,” UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said on Friday during a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). The name came from the March 23, 2009, agreement reached between the CNDP and the DRC government.

In December 2013, the DRC government and the M23 signed a peace agreement in Nairobi, Kenya, but M23 rebels have recently engaged government forces in several parts of North Kivu Province.

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