Rapid environmental assessment of the internally displaced people (IDP) situation, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo

Project dates: November - December 2007 tensions and the escalation of conflict between the forces of General Laurent N'kunda and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), led to the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of people in North Kivu Province.

(IDPs) became an issue as some were close to, or even within, the border of the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is renowned for its high levels of biological diversity - it is home for example to around half of the world's population of mountain gorillas - but it is also an important water catchment and has generated considerable revenue from tourism. Fears of environmental degradation were further heightened given that this region suffered considerable visible and lasting environmental damage during the 1990s Great Lakes crisis.

During its mission conducted for CARE International, ProAct Network identified urgent needs:

  • address the immediate and impending need for fuelwood supplies;
  • begin an immediate programme of awareness raising on fuel-efficiency - stoves and cooking practices;
  • implement an awareness programme of the gas hazards at the Buhimba camp site;
  • encourage the re-use of existing shelter materials when people are relocated to new camps;
  • clean-up camps as people are relocated and camps closed;
  • create camp-based and village-based Environmental Management Committees;
  • pay attention to the need to include host communities in at least some of the relief response work through environment-related extension services;
  • ensure timely and even sharing of environment-related information to guide and support the decision-making process in relation to camp management.

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