EU to launch air bridge to fly aid to DR Congo

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The European Union said Saturday it was setting up a “humanitarian air bridge” to deliver aid to Goma in the conflict-hit eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Goma is the capital of North Kivu province, where fighting with the rebel group M23 has displaced more than 600,000 people.

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The 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 EU said it was also releasing some 47 million euros to be channeled through humanitarian partners for immediate needs such as nutrition, healthcare, shelter and water.

“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,” said the EU’s commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic.

“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.”

The DRC government has accused Rwanda of backing the militia group M23 – claims denied by Kigali but supported by the US and several Western nations.

The militia re-emerged from dormancy in late 2021, subsequently occupying swathes of territory in North Kivu.

President Emmanuel Macron was in the capital of DR Congo on Saturday as part of his African tour aimed at renewing frayed ties.

He met on Friday with President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the neighboring Republic of Congo, after visiting Angola and Gabon.

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