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31 December 2008
Up to 800,000 people were displaced during the 1990s by conflict in the Pool region around Brazzaville, between government forces and rebels originating from among the Lari people. Fighting flared up again in 2002 but transformation of the rebel group into a political party gave hope by 2007 of an end to the violence. By 2006, according to a government estimate, only 7,800 people remained displaced in Pool. Since then no new assessments of the number of IDPs have been conducted, but the UN estimated in 2008 that the number had decreased considerably, and reported that there were no more IDPs in its last Displaced Populations Report of December 2008.
However, IDPs have long been hard to identify as most sought refuge with families and host communities, often in the Bacongo and Makelekélé neighbourhoods of the capital Brazzaville. Sites in which IDPs received assistance from humanitarian organisations, in Brazzaville or elsewhere, were closed by the government following a small-scale return exercise.
In 2008 any remaining IDPs and returnees continued to share considerable hardship with other residents of Pool. For example, due to extreme poverty and the government’s incapacity to deliver basic services, less than half of the population had access to clean water. According to Médecins Sans Frontières in 2007, the medical needs of the region were still indicative of a chronic crisis. While the situation is no longer considered as a humanitarian emergency, two million dollars were nonetheless disbursed to UN agencies in 2008 by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), to assist returnees and local communities, as well as 50,000 refugees from DRC. The funds were used to provide health care services including emergency obstetrics, agriculture and food security support, and nutrition, water and sanitation projects.
Up to 800,000 people in the Republic of the Congo – a quarter of the population – were internally displaced during the 1990s by armed conflict in the Pool region between government forces and rebels originating from among the Lari ethnic group. The conflict ended in 2003, and by 2006, according to a government estimate, only 7,800 people remained displaced in Pool.
Since then no new assessment of the number of IDPs has been conducted, and the UN reported no change to the government estimate in its Displaced Populations Report of January – March 2009. More significantly, no study of whether former IDPs have achieved durable solutions has been carried out, leaving unanswered the question of whether internal displacement has really ended in the Republic. (...)
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25 September 2009