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Rwanda Rugali
900 000 IDPs out of reach

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NAIROBI, 6 Nov 2002 (IRIN) - Access to at least 900,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains "impossible", according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Of this total, some 500,000 IDPs are in the Ituri District, fleeing ongoing fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities.

The number of IDPs was expected to rise as instability was continuing in the region, the international relief NGO, World Vision, reported on Wednesday. The group reported that many of these IDPs were leading "wretched lives" in camps, churches, warehouses and with relatives in a string of towns along a 200-km stretch between Bunia and Beni.

Most of the IDPs are living in Eringeti, 50 km north of Beni, with others in Mayi-Moya, Mbau, Mavivi, Ngadi, Mutwanga and Beni, according to World Vision. They need food, clean water, shelter, medicine, clothing, blankets, kitchenware and utensils.

Meanwhile, another 400,000 IDPs are scattered throughout South Kivu Province, many as a result of recent fighting between Congolese Mayi-Mayi militias and the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie rebel movement, in the wake of a large-scale withdrawal of Rwandan forces as agreed under the 30 July peace accord signed in the South African administrative capital, Pretoria.

Negotiations are said to be "ongoing" by humanitarian organisations with authorities of Mayi-Mayi factions and RCD-Goma, for access to the patchwork of areas under their respective control.