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Friday, 12 January, 2001, 18:11 GMT
Congolese face malnutrition
Refugees collectiong water
The DRC war has created millions of displaced people
The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that up to two million people are at risk of malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


There is a danger that malnutrition could spiral out of control

Kees Tuinenburg, WFP Kinshasa representative

The WFP said the ongoing war in the country had displaced millions of people, and cut many off from reliable sources of food.

The agency's representative Kees Tuinenburg said that because of the problem, "stepped-up relief in the country is crucial.

"If we don't get more food in now, there is a danger that malnutrition could spiral out of control."

Entrenched positions

Relief efforts have been hampered by an escalation in fighting, with WFP supplies failing to get through to the civilian population.

The WFP admits that accurate statistics are difficult to gather, but the organisation estimates that 21% of the population of the eastern province of North-Kivu are suffering from severe malnutrition.

The conflict in DR Congo - described as Africa's 'world war' - began in 1998, and has drawn in many of the neighbouring and nearby countries.

Peace negotiations are underway but no final agreement has been reached. In the meantime, the war continues, as the warring sides attempt to entrench their positions.

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See also:

18 Dec 00 | Africa
Regional clashes in DR Congo
26 Dec 00 | Africa
Fresh fighting in the Congo
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
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