Britain pleges aid to DRC

Britain said on Wednesday that it would donate £64m to help tackle the humanitarian crisis...

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<?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Britain</country-region> said on Wednesday that it would donate £64m to help tackle the humanitarian crisis in conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Of this, £39m would be spent on providing food, safe drinking water, medical care, tools and seeds, a government statement said.

<country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Britain</country-region> will donate another £25m through a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) program to provide clean water and sanitation for 3,7 million Congolese.

The announcement came during a visit to the country by International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.

Tutsi rebels, led by General Laurent Nkunda, launched an offensive in eastern <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Congo</country-region> last August.

More than 250 000 civilians were driven from their homes since then, with widespread reports of murder, rape and looting.

More than 5 million people have died since the beginning of a 1998-2003 war in the region.