UNHCR-run camps in the Rutshuru area -- Nyongera, Kasasa and Dumez -- were forcefully emptied and destroyed several weeks ago
UNHCR SAYS 90,000 CONGOLESE UNACCOUNTED FOR- - -
More than 90,000 people who fled their homes in eastern Congo because of violence are unaccounted for, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.
Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said aid workers visiting parts of North Kivu province that had been inaccessible during recent fighting had found three makeshift displacement sites empty.
Three other UNHCR-run camps in the Rutshuru area -- Nyongera, Kasasa and Dumez -- were forcefully emptied and destroyed several weeks ago, Redmond said.
"With the latest findings, the total number of IDPs who cannot be accounted for in the area has surpassed 90,000," he said, using the acronym for "internally-displaced persons", the official term for people who have fled their homes but have not crossed an international border.
The fate of those who abandoned or were forced out of the camps is unclear, but Redmond said many were thought to have returned to their villages or be staying with host families in the area.
The UNHCR and its aid partners are distributing emergency supplies in the region, hit by fighting between government troops and forces loyal to Congolese Tutsi leader General Laurent Nkunda. (Reporting by Laura MacInnis; editing by Andrew Roche)
See this site's sister blog Uganda Watch: November 27, 2008 - 27,000 Congolese civilians have fled into Uganda since August to escape violence in Rutshuru, DR Congo