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Statement on emergency situation in Goma’s refugee camps

News Humanitarian assistance
Democratic Republic of the Congo -

On Friday, May 3rd, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, several refugee camps for internally displaced people on the west side of Goma (the capital of the North Kivu province) were attacked. Bombs and exchanges of gunfire between the different armed actors resulted in fatalities, including children, and left more than 30 others injured.  

According to Doctors Without Borders, around 1.6 million people settled near Rwanda and Uganda’s borders with DRC have been displaced since the resurgence of the M23 group in late 2021. The continuous fighting between the M23 group and the DRC’s national armed forces and their allies has caused a surge of violence and instability in the region. 

Reports from NGO representatives and humanitarian workers describe a sense of being ‘trapped in the crossfire’. Tens of thousands of displaced people in Goma, who have nowhere else to seek refuge are in a desperate situation. They’re caught in the escalating tensions between the armed forces and have no other shelter than a tent to hide from the explosions. 

Moreover, the situation is severely impacting the delivery of essential assistance to displaced people in Goma. “A displacement site is a place where people who fled the war, try to find security. This should never be a battlefield,” says the director of programs Cordaid DRC Lisette Ridja–van ‘t Klooster. 

Cordaid calls on all parties to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and to guarantee the protection of civilians and the security of humanitarian actors. We also call for international mobilisation to ensure safe and unhindered passage for humanitarian relief. 

This violence marks a new phase in an existing conflict, which had already displaced an estimated 5.6 million people in the eastern provinces, with 2.5 million in North Kivu alone. 

Read the press release of the International Non-Governmental Organizations Forum in the Democratic Republic of Congo (FONGI-RDC) here: