20 Nov 12 28 Nov 16

Democratic Republic of Congo: Thousands flee as rebels advance on Goma

Tens of thousands of people are fleeing fighting, leaving villages and displaced persons camps empty, as a rebel advance reaches the outskirts of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Image CaptionKanyaruchinya IDP camp in Goma, which was home to 60,000 people now lies empty after the residents fled in fear of the advancing rebel movement. Democratic Republic of Congo © Aurelie Baumel/MSF
Grace Tang, MSF Head of Mission in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo © Chris de Bode

"The atmosphere in the city is tense, people are worried” said Grace Tang, MSF’s head of mission in Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu province.

“The fighting that for months has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes elsewhere in the region has now reached Goma’s doorstep.”

Inside the camps

Kanyaruchinya camp, where Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is intervening, is now empty after around 60,000 people – many of whom had previously been displaced – fled in panic.

Many have now reached the Mugunga III, Mugunga I and Lac Vert camps or headed south to camps in Minova and Kirotche in the neighbouring province, South Kivu.

Medical teams report thousands of new arrivals since yesterday with people desperate to be registered. Conditions in many camp locations are precarious, with a lack of food distribution. Lac Vert and Mugunga I locations are currently supported by MSF with health services and water and sanitation provision.

MSF sending in extra staff

MSF teams on the ground remain ready to respond to additional medical and humanitarian needs. Extra medical staff – including surgeons – and supplies are currently on route in preparation should further fighting and displacement occur.

MSF’s cholera treatment centre in Goma is preparing for an influx of new cases as tens of thousands of people arrive and set up camp in and around the city.

Elsewhere in eastern Congo, we continues to provide free healthcare in numerous hospitals, health centres and health posts throughout North and South Kivu in Rutshuru, Kayna, Masisi, Mweso, Kitchanga, Walikale and Pinga.

There are also a number of cholera treatment centres, mobile clinics and emergency response activities.

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