DRC: IRIN News Briefs [19991015]

DRC: IRIN News Briefs [19991015]

REPUBLIC OF CONGO: IRIN News Briefs, 15 October


Survey reveals high death rate Army to help vaccinate children in unsafe areas Rwandan children reunited with their families Several hurt in train blast

Survey reveals high death rate

A recent survey of Brazzaville returnees has revealed that the death rate in the rural Pool region during August was 5-6 deaths per day per 10,000 people, an update from the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Republic of Congo said. The report, received by IRIN on Friday, said most deaths were related to malnutrition. About 140,000 people are displaced in rural areas of Pool, which has been affected by insecurity since September 1998. The return of displaced persons to Brazzaville from Pool continues at a rate of 1,500 people a day. However, the number of displaced persons returning with UNHCR assistance via the DRC has dropped, with less than 1,000 returnees by that route recorded since 1 October, the report said.

Army to help vaccinate children in unsafe areas

Meanwhile, a polio vaccination campaign targeting 400,000 children under five years of age is scheduled to take place from 29-31 October, with WHO and UNICEF support, the Humanitarian Coordinator's update said. The army will help cover areas of the country considered unsafe for relief workers to visit, it added.

Rwandan children reunited with their families

Nine Rwandan children separated from their families for the past two years were Thursday reunited with family members in Rwanda, a UNHCR official told IRIN on Friday. The official said the children, who had arrived in Brazzaville from the DRC in 1997, were placed in the country's refugee camps. "They later on moved to the unaccompanied minor's camps where we have been trying to trace their families with the help of the International Rescue Committee and ICRC," the official said. A "small number" of Rwandan unaccompanied children remain in the camps, he added.

Several hurt in train blast

Several people were injured when suspected rebels blew up a train travelling to Brazzaville on Monday, AFP reported. The train was bringing civilians who had fled fighting near Brazzaville in the past few months back to the capital under military escort. It said the number of injured and the precise nature of the explosive could not be determined, but Ninja militiamen loyal to ousted prime minister Bernard Kolelas were thought to be responsible.

Meanwhile, France's SNCF state rail company will help the Congo reopen its main railway line, which has been closed for over a year, Congolese Transport Minister Isidore Mvouba said on Thursday. Reuters quoted him as saying SNCF engineers who arrived last week had inspected damage to the line and were "very optimistic" about the repairs needed.


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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