The fight for control of natural resources and ethnic conflict in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have created one of the world’s most complex humanitarian crises. Access is a key challenge to those trying to manage emergencies. The country’s infrastructure is limited and often under the control of militias. The EU humanitarian air service ECHO Flight brings NGO workers to where help is needed the most.
We joined Marianne Theis from the NGO Premiere Urgence Internationale on her trip to her base in the province of Nyunzu.
“There are real problems accessing the area,” she told Euronews. “The ECHO Flight service allows us to transport people and goods and materials, like medicine and everything we need to complete our work.”
The European Commission’s Echo Flight service has six planes in three countries, half of them in DRC. The EU also funds aircraft to deliver life-saving aid to other conflict zones.
“The fleet has grown according to need,” said Sandrine Ducroix from EU Humanitarian Aid. “Now we have three planes here. Echo Flight supports its NGO partners with regular flights, flights on demand and medical evacuation or security evacuation flights when they’re needed in the field.”
NRC_Norway</a>, helping the displaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo rebuild their lives:<a href="https://t.co/p5q1WSJmoM">https://t.co/p5q1WSJmoM</a></p>— EU Humanitarian Aid (eu_echo) November 4, 2015
Flight from Nyunzu to Luizi
From Nyunzu, it takes about two hours on a narrow jungle trail to reach Luizi. The village is home to around 20,000 displaced people who fled from violence between Pygmy and Bantu tribes. We passed several burned-out villages. Marianne went to check in on the NGO’s mobile clinic which was set up last September. It opens twice a week.
“We opened this clinic here because it was a major displacement site,” said Theis.“People receive free health care, especially children under five who are more vulnerable, and also malnourished children, who also receive food rations. Every week we see around 200 people.”