Thousands flee as rebels advance on Goma

After a year of "remote control" support, MSF is again present in the health zone of Birambizo, in the province of North Kivu,DRC. Photo:Emily Lynch

Goma - As a rebel advance reaches the outskirts of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tens of thousands of people have fled the fighting leaving villages and displaced persons camps empty.

“The atmosphere in the city is tense, people are worried” said Grace Tang, MSF’s head of mission based in Goma. “The fighting that for months has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes elsewhere in the region has now reached Goma’s doorstep.”  

Kanyaruchinya camp, where MSF is intervening, is now empty after around 60,000 people – many of whom had previously been displaced - fled in panic. Many have now reached the Mugunga III, Mugunga I and Lac Vert camps or headed south to camps in Minova and Kirotche in the neighbouring province, South Kivu.

Medical teams report thousands of new arrivals since yesterday with people desperate to be registered. Conditions in many camp locations are precarious, with a lack of food distribution. Lac Vert and Mugunga I locations are currently supported by MSF with health services and water and sanitation provision.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) teams on the ground remain ready to respond to additional medical and humanitarian needs. Extra medical staff- including surgeons - and supplies are currently on route in preparation should further fighting and displacement occur. MSF’s Cholera Treatment Centre in Goma is preparing for an influx of new cases as tens of thousands of people arrive and set up camp in and around the city.

Elsewhere in eastern Congo, MSF continues to provide free healthcare in numerous hospitals, health centres and health posts throughout North and South Kivu in Rutshuru, Kayna, Masisi, Mweso, Kitchanga, Walikale and Pinga. There are also a number of Cholera Treatment Centres (CTCs), mobile clinics and emergency response activities.

Find more about MSF in Democratic Republic of Congo