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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 10:08 GMT
Aid ships reach DR Congo town
River boats
The River Congo has been closed because of the war

An aid convoy of 13 ships has delivered more than 600 tonnes of food to a town in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

World Vision International, the aid agency which organised the delivery says thousands of people in the town of Ankoro have been suffering from severe food shortages since heavy fighting broke out last year, just as the planting season was starting.

World Vision says it was the largest ever single delivery of food in the country.

The cargo left the city of Lubumbashi, near the Zambian border, by train on Saturday.

It was later transferred onto a convoy of 13 ships for a voyage down the River Congo, some of it through rebel-held territory, to the town of Ankoro.

Homes burnt

Fields were destroyed and grain stocks looted after fighting between rival factions last year.

Four years
Seven foreign armies
At least 2 million dead
Disease and abuses widespread

"The November conflict caused people to flee into the surrounding bush, where they were forced to scavenge on anything they could find," said World Vision.

"Over 3,000 homes were burned down and an estimated 100 people were killed during the conflict."

The town, with a population of some 67,000 people, has been cut off since its only road was washed away in floods.

A four-year war in DR Congo has caused some two million deaths.

Aid workers risk death in Africa
05 Mar 03 |  England
DR Congo awash with rebels
23 Jul 02 |  Africa
Mass grave 'found' in DR Congo
13 Jan 03 |  Africa
DR Congo's road to peace
21 Oct 02 |  Africa

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