“Since the creation of RRM in October 2004, RRM teams have never before been called into action as much as they are now,” UN country humanitarian coordinator Ross Mountain said in the latest update, which calls for strong donor support to address growing displacement due to military operations and armed clashes in the eastern and southern regions of the country.The RRM, jointly managed by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and implemented in the field by non-government organization (NGO) partners, carried out more than 80 emergency operations mainly in the provinces of Katanga and North and South Kivu as well as in the Ituri District. RRM’s financial resources have been stretched and will need to be renewed if this dramatic trend continues, OCHA said of the first quarter’s total of 356,000 primary beneficiaries. Overall, some 585,000 people benefited directly or indirectly from RRM activities in water and sanitation, emergency food and health care. Nearly 6,500 children also benefited within this framework from UNICEF’s emergency education programme.As the vast country heads for elections, now slated for July, which it is hoped will cement its transition from years of bloody conflict to peace and democracy, the east remains the most volatile area, both for the local population and for humanitarian actors. In Ituri, humanitarian access has been severely reduced in the last few weeks and security remains precarious. In Katanga, a silent crisis continues. In all these areas, access to water, food, and shelters is woefully inadequate. The protection of populations, victims of human rights abuses, violence and other violations must be aggressively reinforced. “Considering this alarming situation, UNICEF and OCHA express their concern regarding the fate of the civilian populations who are victims of armed conflict in the DRC,” OCHA said in a statement.“They call on the government of the DRC to fulfil its responsibility towards the security and protection of civilians and the people. They also appeal to donors to vigorously support the humanitarian action in DRC outlined in the 2006 Action Plan which aims to provide assistance to more than 30 million vulnerable people throughout the country.”

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