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Africa

Aid groups say 30,600 have fled ethnic clashes

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Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-20

An estimated 30,600 people fleeing ethnic clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo have crossed the border into the Republic of Congo, aid agencies say. The number has surged in the past few days as fighting has intensified.

AFP - More than 30,000 refugees from ethnic clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo have crossed the border into the Republic of Congo, aid agencies said on Friday.
   
"Today, the figure is thirty thousand and six hundred" refugees, said Rufin Mafouta, head of the office of Medecins d'Afrique (MDA - Doctors of Africa), which carries out relief work in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
   
"There's been a massive influx in the past few days because the fighting has become far more intense" in the DR Congo's Equateur province, where two tribes are fighting for control of a lake rich in fish, Mafouta said.
   
Last week, the UNHCR reported that a little over 24,000 people had arrived in the Likouala region after crossing the Oubangui river, which serves as the border between the two Congos.
   
"We have noticed a lot of unaccompanied children who have certainly lost their parents, as well as pregnant women and elderly people," Mafouta said.
   
In Kinshasa, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated on Wednesday that clashes between the Monzaya and Enyele ethnic groups had claimed at least 100 lives, while several people trying to flee the fighting drowned in the Oubangui river.
   
After an evaluation mission on November 10, the Congolese government and relief agencies began to distribute 15,000 tonnes of food, tarpaulins, flasks, blankets and mosquito nets to the refugees, who are installed in precarious conditions on sites mainly accessible only by boat.
   
"This aid is insufficient, we need more interventions," a relief worker who asked not to be named told AFP.

Date created : 2009-11-20

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