Humanitarian Health Action

WHO North Kivu Crisis Situation Report No. 3

The latest information on WHO, health partners and health needs during the current crisis in North Kivu:

Main points

  • Newly displaced are estimated at 250 000. Concerns that 50 000 IDPs may have fled into the forest.
  • UN has evacuated aid workers from Rutshuru as fighting has resumed in this area.
  • The UN Secretary-General will be travelling to Nairobi for regional summit meeting on the crisis.
  • US$ 55 million have been made available by donors for the next three months.

Situation update

  • The ceasefire around Goma appears to be holding for now. However, fighting is reported around Rutshuru between the rebel forces of the Congrès national pour la défense du peuple (CNDP) and pro-government militia. The UN has evacuated aid workers from Rutshuru. Health facilities, which had been restocked on 3 November, were reportedly looted during renewed fighting.
  • The number of people displaced by the fighting is estimated at 250 000. There are concerns about at least 50 000 of them who may have fled into the forest. For now, refugees mostly cross into Uganda at the rate of about 100/day.
  • Diplomatic efforts are ongoing to end the conflict. On 7 November, the UN Secretary-General will attend a regional summit meeting with heads of state in Nairobi to discuss the crisis. The presidents of Kenya, DRC, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa are expected as well as representatives from the United Nations and the African Union.
  • The Emergency Relief Coordinator has announced that US$ 55 million have been made available by donors for the next three months. Of these, 30 million are for food aid, the remaining 25 million to be distributed among all other sectors. No information is available yet on the release of a possible Flash Appeal or an allocation from the CERF.

Health situation assessment

  • On 5 November, WHO began an assessment mission in Rutshuru region, currently under the control of the CNDP. Merlin will evaluate the possibility of reopening some of the health centres that it is supporting in the area.
  • There is a serious risk of cholera outbreaks, as the disease is endemic in the area. Suspected cases have been reported in various health centres and on 4 November, six cases were admitted in Kirotshe general hospital and one in Goma hospital. Oxfam-GB is supporting the chlorination of water supplies.

WHO and other partners response

  • An international WHO/EHA focal point was moved from Bukavu to Goma to strengthen the WHO Office. Coordination and communication is functioning between all WHO departments involved in response whether at headquarters, regional and country levels (DRC and neighbouring countries).
  • WHO/HAC and ARO staff from headquarters will be deployed shortly to the region for operational support.
  • A first donation of 10 tonnes of drugs and supplies, enough to ensure essential health care to 60 000 people for one month, provided by the Government of Italy were received in Goma on 4 November. Italy has since informed WHO that it will increase its support by providing additional supplies for up to 180 000 people.
  • The Government of Norway is providing another 30 tonnes of supplies, sufficient to treat 150 000 persons for diarrhoeal diseases, trauma and common health conditions for one month. The supplies will arrive shortly in Goma and will be distributed by WHO and health partners. Norway is further providing eight water purification kits which will cover the needs of 60 000 people.
  • The NGO PSI/ASF (Association de santé familiale) provided 100 safe delivery kits for the IDPs in Goma.
  • WHO provided 300 litres of Ringer lactate as well as perfusion equipment to the general hospital in Kirotshe for the management of cholera cases.
  • A concept of operations was shared with Health Cluster partners. Priority actions include:
    • Re-establishing functioning of and access to health services ;
    • Re-establishing the disease early warning system;
    • Conducting an extraordinary measles and polio immunization campaign with the distribution of vitamin A and mebendazole for de-worming.

Urgent needs

  • For IDPs, urgent needs remain security, clean drinking water, shelter, food and basic health care. Therefore access to displaced populations remains crucial.
  • Health partners will organize a sensitization campaign for the population of Kirotshe health zone on hygiene and water chlorination.
  • The status of health facilities in Rutshuru needs to be re-evaluated in light of the renewed fighting and displacement in the area.
  • Needs of returnee populations in Rutshuru and Kibumba must be evaluated.
For more information, please contact:

Dr Matthieu Kamwa, WHO Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Email: kamwam@cd.afro.who.int

Dr Brice Ahounou, Health Action in Crises Focal Point
Email: ahounoub@cd.afro.who.int

Dr Valentin Mukinda, EHA, RDC Email: mukindav@cd.afro.who.int

Mr Eugène Kabambi, Communication Officer, EHA, Kinshasa
Email: kabambie@cd.afro.who.int

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