Spread of cholera threatens eastern Congo camps of displaced persons

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - In a cholera treatment centre in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, doctor Bishikwabo Irenge tries to coax a crying and struggling six-year-old boy to drink.

The child's mother, Christine Nyiramahigwe, told Reuters she was forced to flee home during recent fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel group in North Kivu province.

Now she lives in a makeshift camp outside the provincial capital, Goma, where disease is spreading due to lack of shelter and sanitation. Tens of thousands of displaced people are living in the area.

"We couldn't contain all the sick people coming from the camps, we were obliged to create a bigger unit," said Irenge, director of the new cholera treatment center run by NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

More than 250 patients have been admitted to the centre in Munigi, in the outskirts of Goma, since Nov. 26, said MSF.

(Reporting by Djaffar Sabiti; Additional reporting and writing by Sonia Rolley; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Diane Craft)