Six members of International Medical Corps’ staff are safe after shooting erupted while they were on an airstrip Wednesday in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The team of three expatriates was arriving by plane, with another expatriate and two nationals waiting to pick them up in Walikale, in North Kivu Province. The group was there to assess the situation following a recent incident of mass rapes in the nearby village of Luvungi. Upon landing, they encountered gunfire and the group fled the immediate area by foot.
After the fighting had ceased they were able to walk out of the bush where they were hiding, approximately five kilometers away. Local guides and a national staff member located and helped retrieve them.
UN peacekeepers and representatives of the U.N. Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) arranged for their safe return to Goma.
International Medical Corps has worked in the DRC since 1999 to provide health care and training services, nutrition, food security, sexual and gender-based violence prevention and treatment, and water/sanitation services. International Medical Corps supports 85 health facilities in the DRC, including forty-two in North Kivu, forty-one in South Kivu, and two in Maniema. In total, International Medical Corps has served more than one million people in Congo, 80 percent of them displaced by war.