Brussels 30 October, 2008
Democratic Republic of Congo: Commissioner Michel continues regional shuttle diplomacy and announces €4 million humanitarian aid for vulnerable people in North Kivu
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, is undertaking shuttle diplomacy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda in an effort to assist towards a diplomatic and political solution to the current crisis. Today he met DRC President, Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa. Tomorrow, he will meet with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali.
The European Commission is deeply concerned about the developments in the Congolese region of North Kivu bordering Rwanda and has allotted €4 million in emergency funding to help vulnerable people caught up in the intensifying conflict between the Congolese armed forces and the rebel movement 'Congrès National de la Défense du Peuple' (CNDP). Due to the fighting, at least 40,000 people have been newly displaced over the past few days, with around a quarter of a million in the last two months. Louis Michel has also stated his intention of transferring €12 million from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) to use for the immediate humanitarian response in the DRC.
Commissioner Louis Michel said: "We urgently need a ceasefire to stop the chaos and the suffering of the ordinary people in Kivu. Earlier this year, all sides agreed to reach a peaceful solution. Common sense must prevail again to give all people in the Kivu regions the prospect of a normal life again. Europe cares and we stand ready to help in the reconstruction of the Kivu regions – but first all sides must find a diplomatic and political solution and agree on a lasting peace."
The Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Michel, has an emergency response expert in the city of Goma. He is closely following developments in the humanitarian situation on the ground.
As many humanitarian projects can only be reached by air, the Commission runs a dedicated humanitarian air service called "ECHO-Flight". Its three aircrafts also carry out emergency evacuations.
All Commission relief funds are channelled through non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.
For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm