Humanitarians issued an alert on Friday for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where heavy fighting continues to uproot hundreds of thousands of people in the east of the country.
Renewed violent clashes between non-state armed groups and government forces have sparked the latest emergency, with 300,000 people forced to flee their homes in North Kivu Province in February alone.
According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, another 20,000 fled at the start of the week and nearly 50,000 became displaced from the Kitchanga region in Masisi territory during the week of 17 February.
Civilians continue to pay the heavy and bloody price of conflict, including women and children who barely escaped the violence and are now sleeping out in the open, in spontaneous or organized sites, exhausted and traumatized,” said UNHCR spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh.
Meanwhile, Suspected rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces have killed at least 17 people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo – the second mass killing in less than a week.
They also set fire to buildings during the dawn raid on Kirindera in North Kivu province.
On Wednesday, 45 people were killed during a raid on two villages by the same rebels – who are said to have links to the Islamic State group.
Peace talks have been tried, but the international response to the crisis in eastern DR Congo is to send in more soldiers.
The Ugandan army has been in North Kivu to fight the ADF rebels for over a year but without success.