People rummage through rubbles after a fire burned down dozens of houses and killed at least one person on Monday in Bukavu, eastern DR Congo. WFP is already assisting 116,000 internally-displaced people in Ituri each month. AFP photo
The World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday said it was more than doubling aid in eastern DR Congo's Ituri province, with the goal of reaching 300,000 people forced from their homes by weeks-long fighting.
"Our hearts go out to the latest victims of this senseless cruelty, most of them rural villagers who have had to run for their lives, with little or nothing, right at harvest time," Claude Jibidar, the WFP's representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said in a statement.
The WFP is already assisting 116,000 internally-displaced people in Ituri each month, providing them with food and small payments of cash to survive.
The agency said many of the newly-displaced were malnourished and had moved numerous times, many seeking safety in towns or in the bush.
At least 160 civilians have died in Ituri since June 10, according to local authorities.
Tens of thousands of people in this troubled region died in clashes between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups between 1999 and 2003.
Violence between the two communities also displaced some 350,000 in late 2017 and early 2018.
The country counts an estimated 4.5 million internally displaced people in a population of some 80 million.
The WFP said the food crisis in DR Congo was the second worst in the world, behind the impact of the war in Yemen.
About 13 million Congolese, five million of them children, live in a state of food insecurity, according to its estimates.
Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu province are also trying to roll back an epidemic of Ebola that has claimed more than 1,500 lives since last August.