Violence main cause of humanitarian needs in DRC: UN envoy
Leila Zerrougui (on screen), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), briefs the Security Council on the situation in DRC, at the UN headquarters in New York, July 24, 2019. Violence continues to be the main cause of humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Leila Zerrougui said on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
UNITED NATIONS, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Violence continues to be the main cause of humanitarian needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN envoy for the DRC said on Wednesday.
Leila Zerrougui, the UN secretary-general's special representative for the DRC, told the Security Council that the level of violence increased in several areas in the eastern part of the country over the course of the past weeks.
In this regard, Zerrougui said she is concerned with the current situation in Ituri province, where spoilers are seeking to play on ethnic tensions to instigate inter-community violence.
As a result of the increasingly violence, the country is currently facing simultaneous emergency situations, including mass displacement and protection threats, she added.
In Ituri, more than 350,000 people are displaced in Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu territories following renewed violence, said Zerrougui, adding that 733,000 people are in need of assistance in Ituri province to date.
The deterioration of the security situation is interrupting the return process that had been gradually taking place since 2018, she said.
Added to this is the ever-increasing concern of the Ebola epidemic, which has now claimed the lives of more than 1,700 people, Zerrougui warned.
On July 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola in the DR Congo as a public health emergency of international concern.
The problems faced in eradicating this disease are not only epidemiological in nature, they are linked as well to a variety of political and social factors, said Zerrougui, which include the activities of armed groups such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and Mai-Mai, along with continuing high levels of community distrust around the response to the epidemic.
This confluence of factors has resulted in a deadly environment for the people working to counter Ebola, to the point of being specifically threatened and killed by armed groups, she added.
The UN Security Council on June 26 extended the sanctions regime on the DRC until July 1, 2020. The resolutions impose an arms embargo on armed groups in the DRC, a travel ban on individuals and asset freeze on individuals and entities designated by the Sanctions Committee.