ZAIRE REBELS TRANSPORT STARVING REFUGEES TO AID WORKERS.Byline: Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)
Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.
Rebels dumped truck- and trainloads of sick and starving refugees on unprepared aid workers, who flew 236 children home to Rwanda on Wednesday and struggled to deal with the rest.
In the squalid camps south of the city, refugees fought for biscuits, famished fam·ish
v. fam·ished, fam·ish·ing, fam·ish·es
1. To cause to endure severe hunger.
2. To cause to starve to death.
1. after days hiding in the jungle. Many were sick with cholera and malaria. A mother at a Kisangani transit camp transit camp
a camp in which refugees, soldiers, etc., live temporarily
transit camp n → campamento de tránsito
transit camp n clung to her dead child.
``This is chaos,'' U.N. refugee spokesman Kilian Kleinschmidt said of the refugees' sudden arrival from camps in northeastern Zaire. ``As far as I know, we could have 10,000 people here tomorrow.''
After weeks of balking balking, baulking
see jibbing. at United Nations plans for the biggest refugee airlift ever attempted in Africa, the rebels are now pressing to complete the operation in 60 days.
The first flight of 186 refugee children reached Kigali, the Rwandan capital, Wednesday afternoon, followed by a second flight of 50 more children. U.N. workers hoped to fly 1,200 more refugees home today.
Aid workers were shocked when the rebels began bringing hundreds of sickly refugees to Kisangani on trucks and trains from refugee camps south of the city.
The rebels, who have taken control of the eastern half of Zaire in a seven-month campaign to oust President Mobutu Sese Seko Mobutu Sese Seko (mōb`tō sā`sā sā`kō), 1930–97, president of Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). , have given the United Nations a 60-day deadline to get the 80,000 Rwandan refugees south of Kisangani back home.
``They want repatriation Repatriation
The process of converting a foreign currency into the currency of one's own country.
If you are American, converting British Pounds back to U.S. dollars is an example of repatriation. , but under their rules,'' said Pierce Gerety, a top U.N. representative in Kisangani. ``We are happy (that the airlift has started) but not necessarily in the way it is being carried out.''
Last week, the refugees fled into the jungle when Zairian mobs attacked them, reportedly killing hundreds. Rebels sealed off the area to aid workers for nearly a week, making it impossible to bring in food or medicine. Some refugees say rebel troops fired into the camps.
Faced with mounting evidence of massacres, rebel chief Laurent Kabila assured U.S. envoy Bill Richardson This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches. that anyone found responsible for killings would be punished.
Richardson, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, toured a transit camp Wednesday near Kisangani. He appeared distraught at the sight of a refugee mother still clinging to her dead baby.
The U.S. envoy then headed to Kinshasa, the capital, and announced that Mobutu and Kabila would meet Friday on a South African naval ship for talks chaired by the United Nations and attended by other African presidents.
``This is a historic occasion that hopefully will lead to peace in Zaire,'' Richardson told reporters after meeting with Mobutu.
Thousands of refugees emerged from hiding in Zaire's dense forests only to find there was little food or medicine Wednesday. Before they fled the camps, 60 refugees a day were dying from starvation and diseases as malaria and cholera.
Kleinschmidt said all the U.N. trucks in the region were being used to transport refugees from Kisangani to the airport, leaving none to take food to the camps.
Brenda Barton of the World Food Program said the situation was desperate at Biaro, 25 miles south of Kisangani, where at least 10,000 refugees have gathered in the past few days.
``People are definitely in desperate need of food. They were fighting over biscuits,'' she said.
She said the WFP WFP World Food Programme (United Nations)
WFP Windows File Protection (Microsoft)
WFP Water for People (international humanitarian organization)
WFP Winnipeg Free Press was bringing food to Biaro by train. It planned to fill the empty boxcars box·car
1. A fully enclosed railroad car, typically having sliding side doors, used to transport freight.
2. boxcars Games A pair of sixes on the first throw in craps.
Noun 1. with refugees for the return trip to Kisangani, so they could be airlifted out.
Since the UNHCR UNHCR n abbr (= United Nations High Commission for Refugees) → ACNUR m
UNHCR n abbr (= United Nations High Commission for Refugees) → HCR m remains responsible for the refugees when they reach Kigali, it has set up a transit camp there and will have way stations along the roads most refugees will use to walk home.