New York- US (PANA) -- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says it will need about US$20 million to meet the needs of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The UN agency said that thousands of refugees had fled the ethnic conflict in DR C and sought shelter in neighbouring Republic of Congo.
The UNHCR said in a statement Wednesday that the request was part of the US$59 m illion appeal fund launched by the UN humanitarian agency, to help the Congolese refugees.
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said the agency had so far been able to cover 30 per cent of the needs of this huge population for food, sanitation, shelter, health care and pri mary education.
``They are dispersed along the river in over 100 sites in an area extending 600 km that is so very difficult to access.
``The river is low right now.
It's difficult for us to get big boats that will h elp us transport all of the supplies and, not only that, we don't have the funding for all of the supplies.
This is why our call is urgent," Fleming said.
The spokesperson said that UNHCR was particularly concerned about the plight of the 110,000 refugees who crossed the river in October and November last year to flee the ethnic conflict in the Equateur Provi nce of Congo-Kinshasa.
The UN agency said tension had expanded to most parts of Equateur Province, comp elling an additional 18,000 refugees to flee to the Central African Republic.
Fighting started in late October 2009 when Enyele militiamen launched deadly ass aults on ethnic Munzayas over fishing and farming rights in the Dongo area.