By Juliet Nalwooga
The UN refugee agency is alarmed by the growing death toll among the displaced in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The UNHCR says as conflict grows in the eastern DRC, the rising death toll and suffering of displaced civilians through brutal attacks, is cause for serious concern, appealing for fresh funds to meet “soaring needs” across the country.
The agency spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh, has told journalists in Geneva that this month alone, simultaneous attacks by armed groups in Ituri Province have left 11 people dead and 250 homes looted and burned.
He adds that between February and June this year, UNHCR and partners recorded over 800 deaths from firearm attacks and machete raids on local communities in Ituri.
According to UNHCR, at least 715 of the victims had been sheltering in internal displacement sites or were killed as they attempted to return home.
More than 20,000 people have been driven from their homes by such raids, which are also fuelling acute food insecurity in the eastern Ituri province, where agricultural development in this fertile region has been stymied by long-standing inter communal clashes.