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DRC: Operational Update - 24 November 2008

Goma, 24 November 2008 - Despite persistent insecurity and heavy rains affecting road conditions, WFP is continuing to build on its delivery of food assistance to around 400,000 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Goma, 24 November 2008 - Despite persistent insecurity and heavy rains affecting road conditions, WFP is continuing to build on its delivery of food assistance to around 400,000 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Six camps for the displaced around Goma are being provided with food, in addition to three camps further north - in territory controlled by rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.

• WFP has been providing food to a total of 145,000 people in the six camps around Goma. Distributions have now been completed in three camps: Mugunga 2, Nzulu and Bulengo. On Saturday (22 November), WFP started distributions at Kibati camp, close to the frontline; the remaining camps (Mugunga 1 and Buhimba) will receive food distributions in the coming week.

• WFP has also been distributing food in the Masisi region, which is under the control of the rebel leader, Laurent Nkunda. Some 25,000 displaced people were reached in the two camps at Kitchanga on Monday, while a further 30,000 have received food in Kilolirwe.

Threat of insecurity

• In Sake and Minova, some 50,000 people are being provided with WFP food by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

• Distributions to 99,000 displaced people and host families in Rutshuru and Kiwanja were completed on Friday (21 November), after delays caused by a pull back of Laurent Nkunda’s rebel forces, which raised the threat of insecurity due to an advance by Mai Mai militia.

• The security situation is still extremely fluid and the continuation of WFP food distributions depends – in some areas – on the provision of escorts by the UN peacekeeping force, MONUC.

• The challenge of reaching unstable or insecure areas is of grave concern to WFP which, as head of the logistics “cluster” is also responsible for delivering non-food items on behalf of other agencies.

Rainy season

• Even in places that WFP is able to access, the heavy downpours of the rainy season and the rudimentary road infrastructure are making it extremely challenging for humanitarian convoys to reach their destination.

• Storage capacity in Goma has more than doubled – from 3,500 tons to 6,000 tons – after WFP set up five temporary warehouses at two current warehouse sites.

• Additional storage capacity has been identified at a warehouse just over the border in Gisenyi, Rwanda, which can serve as a contingency WFP logistics base.

• In an average day, the Goma hub handles around 700-800 tons, dispatching some 350-400 tons of food daily. This is enough to feed up to 25,000 people with a full ration.