Violence has reached unprecedented levels in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as fighting between the army and armed groups intensifies. The situation is compounded by inter-ethnic tensions and violence between armed groups in North Kivu and South Kivu.
Sexual abuse is widespread, as well as forced recruitment of child soldiers, destruction of property and looting. Hospitals and other health facilities are struggling to cope with the increasing number of weapon-wounded patients. Thousands of people have recently been displaced.
The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, has just returned from a visit to eastern Congo. He visited Ndosho hospital in Goma. Those that make it to this hospital are the lucky ones. Maurer said: "We have witnessed over the past weeks and months an increase of violence and violations of international humanitarian law here and the needs are increasing. What people need most is access to medical care, access to water and to food. People have to be helped to survive."
The ICRC plans to bring emergency relief to tens of thousands displaced people by distributing food, providing household items, and ensuring people have access to clean water.
To treat the injured, the ICRC wants to expand its medical operations. President Maurer explains: "We would like to expand our war surgery because we see civilians and soldiers alike seriously wounded."
Two Red Cross surgical teams will continue to work in Bukavu Hospital and Goma N’Dosho hospital to help the local staff cope and to improve the quality of care for weapon-wounded patients - an ICRC expertise.
Monitoring the treatment of prisoners and conditions of detention remains a core activity of the ICRC.
To fund these essential activities, the International Committee of the Red Cross is calling for an additional 10 million CHF (8,2 million euro) bringing the ICRC's total budget for Congo to more than 68 million CHF (56 million euro).
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Production: Nicola Fell/Sebastien Carliez
Camera: Christoph Mueller/Alain Pentucci
ICRC ref: AV073N
Copyright: ICRC access all
Sake, 18 December 2012
0:00 Various of destroyed buildings, Sake. Ndosho hospital, Goma, 25 April 2013
0:29 ICRC President entering Ndosho hospital, Goma. Ndosho hospital, Goma, 17 December 2012
0:35 Injured children
0:45 Amputated female patient. Ndosho hospital, Goma, 25 April 2013
0:59 Amputated child talking to ICRC President
01:14 SOUNDBITE Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (in English):
"We have witnessed, over the past weeks and months, an increase of violence and violations of international humanitarian law here and therefore the needs are increasing."
01:24 "What people need most is certainly access to medical care, which is not guaranteed at the present moment at a sufficient level – it's access to water and it's also access to food because the economic fabric is destroyed by the armed conflict and therefore people have to be assisted to survive. Minonva, 12 December 2012
01:48 Armed men
01:55 ICRC distribution of food and household items. Ndosho hospital, Goma, 25 April 2013
02:43 SOUNDBITE Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (in English):
"ICRC would like to expand its medical operations here, its war surgery in particular because we see serious wounds appearing with civilians and soldiers alike. We would also like to focus on areas here in the East which are increasingly affected by the armed conflict." Panzi Hospital, Bukavu, 16 December 2012
03:07 War surgeon on a child with the ICRC team