Congo-Kinshasa: EU to Set Up Air Bridge to Fly Aid to DR Congo

President Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, left, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, right (file photo).

The European Union says it will soon deliver aid to people in need in the Democratic Republic of Congo's conflict-stricken North Kivu province.

The European Union said on Saturday it was setting up a "humanitarian air bridge" to the eastern Congolese city of Goma and releasing over Ꞓ47 million ($49.97 million) for aid for people affected by an ongoing conflict in the region.

Goma is the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) North Kivu province, where militia violence, largely involving the rebel group M23, has displaced more than 600,000 people.

What did the EU say?

The air bridge operation will "deliver humanitarian support in the form of medical and nutritional supplies along with a range of other emergency items," a European Commission statement said.

The released funds will "be channeled through humanitarian partners to cover immediate needs such as nutrition, health care, water and sanitation, shelter and protection," the statement said.

"The EU stands ready to mobilize all the necessary means to support humanitarian workers, including logistics and air, to meet the needs of the population in Democratic Republic of Congo," European Commissioner Janez Lenarcic said in his statement.

"With this Humanitarian Air Bridge operation organized with the support of France and the new fund mobilization, we reaffirm our support to the most vulnerable," Lenarcic said.

What is happening in North Kivu?

The eastern province of North Kivu, which has long been volatile, has been experiencing increased insecurity over the past year, much of it due to the resurgence of M23.

After its comeback in late 2021 following a yearslong virtual pause in its activities, M23, which is also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army, has started to occupy swaths of territory in North Kivu, displacing thousands in the process.

The DRC government, along with the US and some other Western nations, accused neighboring Rwanda of backing the group, but Kigali denies doing so.

On Saturday, French news agency AFP quoted France's President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday that all sides in the conflict had "given clear support" to a cease-fire next Tuesday.

tj/fb (Reuters, AFP)

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