UN Warns of Coming Crisis in Congo

The United Nations said recently that “an acute humanitariancrisis is in the making” in two provinces of the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo (DRC), where tens of thousands of Congolesecivilians are returning after being forced to leave neighboringAngola.

The UN Office for the Coordination ofHumanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has just returned from a mission to theBandundu and Western Kasai provinces, which has very poortransportation routes. They found that there was an urgent demandfor food supplies, clean water, better health care and transportassistance in that area.

“We know of what colonialism did to manyAfrican countries and so this is the result in today’s world,” saidBrandy Brown, an Afro American History History major at HowardUniversity. “There is neglect from both sides and no one but the UNand a few groups are coming to help.”

In a recent report, the OCHA said aid bureausand officials from the DRC Government figure around 80,000 and100,000 Congolese either have or will return to the two provinces.Almost 40,000 people have returned since early April.

Last December, Angola began sending manyCongolese who had been living and working illegally in thecountry’s diamond mines back to the Congo. Many of the returnedCongolese are drowning in Tungila River in an attempt to returnback, OCHA said.

“The human rights and health situation is amajor concern,” OCHA said in the report, referencing the forcefulsearches for hidden diamonds by Angolian.

“According to reports, the searches are beingconducted in a manner that is causing psychological and physicaltrauma and even death,” the report showed.

The World Food Program (WFP), UN Children’sFund (UNICEF) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR)—in addition to non-governmental organizations(NGOs)—have begun to send relief supplies to help thereturnees.

Howard University senior Monique Williams wassurprised by the news.

“That is terrible what Angola is doing,” shesaid. “There are different, more positive approaches to take onbehalf of needy, working people.”

OCHA said it was planning a second mission tothe area, this one focusing on the province of Western Kasai.