The UN Security Council has voted to send some 3,000 extra troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where fresh fighting has erupted.
Already the United Nations biggest peacekeeping operation, the mission will be increased temporarily to just over 20,000 soldiers and police once the reinforcements are deployed.
The aim is to strengthen its ability to protect civilians and end weeks of conflict in North Kivu where rebels remain on the threshold of Goma.
The move comes as aid agencies called for greater help for those forced to flee their homes.
“Right now the situation is extremely serious in North Kivu,” said Jake Wadland of “Medecins Sans Frontieres.”
“The entire eastern part of DRC is faced with a humanitarian crisis, tens of thousands perhaps hundreds of thousands of people are on the move, continuously fleeing fighting.”
In all, a quarter of a million people are thought to have been displaced by the conflict. Additional peacekeepers may provide them with vital extra security. But United Nations officials admit the deployment could take weeks and even months.