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Government seeks help for 75,000 IDPs

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Photo: IRIN
Junior Kabemba, 11, a homeless child living on the streets of Kinshasa
KINSHASA, 31 July 2007 (IRIN) - The Democratic Republic of Congo's Humanitarian Affairs Minister Jean-Claude Muyambo has said there were 75,000 homeless people in the two biggest cities, adding to a growing number of internally displaced people (IDPs) countrywide.

His ministry released a documentary film showing that armed conflicts, natural catastrophes and the destruction by government officials of informal settlements have displaced 10,000 families (50,000 people) in Kinshasa and another 5,000 families (25,000 people) in the economic capital Lubumbashi.

"The precariousness of these people must be recognised by everybody. DRC remains a land of suffering," said Muyambo.

A documentary film released by the ministry showed that most of these urban IDPs lived outside, or in small slum dwellings made of cardboard, just 2m by 2m in size. They often have no toilets or any kind of hygiene facilities. They are exposed to disease and the weather, and most are unemployed.

The minister recognised the efforts of humanitarian agencies to help the displaced but said more needed to be done. His office had launched a project to help the homeless in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi but required more funding. However, at the same time the government has been destroying informal settlements built on 'inappropriate' sites, near the railway or under electric cables, creating thousands of new homeless people.

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