NRC: DRC displaced persons live in appalling conditions

Displaced people in Tanganyika use mosquito nets to build shelters which they use even in the rainy season.

Displaced people in Tanganyika use mosquito nets to build shelters which they use even in the rainy season. [Photo credit: NRC/Prince Lumueno]
People displaced by clashes in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Tanganyika province live in appalling conditions, a Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) humanitarian assessment revealed.

“Tanganyika is on the brink of a deadly disaster. It’s catastrophic cocktail about to blow up,” NRC country director Ulrika Blom warned.

“The province is a forgotten crisis within a forgotten crisis.”

The agency said that over 80 per cent of people sheltering in displacement sites assessed over the past two weeks in Tanganyika have no access to clean drinking water. Three in four people do not have access to latrine toilets.

“Families I met in Kalemie town are surviving in sub-human conditions. I was told about one man who drowned when heavy rain flooded his roofless shelter. Many parents are sleeping standing up or staying awake to avoid the same fate. It’s inconceivable that people are living like this,” Blom said.

Over half a million people in Tanganyika province – or one in five people – have fled their homes because of inter-communal violence over the past 15 months. The majority of families are sheltering in Kalemie and Nyunzu areas.

The assessment revealed that thousands of families have little or no shelter in areas where they have fled to, aside from a basic mosquito net to protect them from harsh elements.

With the rainy season well underway, communities are facing the real prospect of disease outbreaks.

Blom said the priority should be focused on provision of basic necessities for the displaced people.

“The situation in Tanganyika is truly appalling, yet nobody is talking about it,” he said. “The number one priority is providing communities shelter, clean water and sanitation. Not addressing these needs now will have a deadly domino effect. We need to act today, before we are faced with avoidable deaths.”

NRC said it would carry out a two-month emergency intervention following their latest assessment findings.

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