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Distribution of non-food assistance by CARITAS Dingila in Eastern Province (30 May 2009) Credits: Caritas

Distribution of non-food assistance by CARITAS Dingila in Eastern Province (30 May 2009)
Credits: Caritas

Caritas needs US $12 million to provide the basic needs of 400,000 people caught in escalating conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The conditions have sharply worsened for over one million people because of an increase in fighting between foreign militias and the government’s army.

The militias include the FDLR militias (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) in North and South Kivu and Ugandan rebels called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Orientale Province (Eastern Province).

Women and children are particularly vulnerable. Rape attacks against women and young girls have risen sharply. And 14.8 percent of children never live to see their fifth birthday.

Over one in ten people suffer from malnutrition.

Caritas has launched a US $12 million appeal to provide people with food, household items like cooking pots and cutlery, medicine, and education for children. Caritas will also provide care and counseling to victims of rape.

Caritas Congo Director Dr Bruno Miteyo said, “A great number of people in Congo are in terrible need. They’ve been forced from their homes, their possessions looted or burned, and they have no food, healthcare or schooling. Caritas can reach them through its networks on the ground and provide aid immediately.”

The pockets of conflict include North Kivu and South Kivu. Over a million people forced from their homes are facing greater hardship because of an increasing number of attacks by FDLR rebels (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) and violence also carried out due to a lack of discipline in the Congolese national army.

A separate rebel group from Uganda called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is also terrorising the population of Province Orientale (Eastern Province).

Local militia are continuing to terrorize the civil populations in Ituri and Opienge.

Caritas is calling for urgent humanitarian intervention in Congo by the international community. Caritas is urging the Government of Congo to provide protection to the people and to make every effort to build peace.