Caritas is appealing for more than US $2.6 million to assist people caught up in the latest conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
M23 rebels seized Goma, the provincial capital of Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern North Kivu province on 20 November from government forces.
Recent clashes have forced more than 140,000 people to flee their homes and seek refuge in camps or makeshift accommodation.
Local Caritas staff in Goma are working in challenging conditions with transport to provide those displaced with food and other aid items.
“Unlike the electricity, we operate full time and all our Caritas team members are in the field working around the clock,” said Fr Oswald Musoni , Director of Caritas Goma. “We have done assessments and have now started food distribution, provided by WFP in the largest camp.
“The situation is still very fluid , people are not sure what will happen next, but all the schools, churches and camps are overflowing with people seeking fleeing from army and rebels positions. Many children are unaccompanied and we are concerned about their safety”.
Caritas hopes to reach 60,000 people with aid such as blankets, hygiene equipment, buckets and jerry cans and other household items. Caritas will also provide them food working through its national member Caritas Congo and diocesan partners Goma, Bukavu and Butembo-Beni.
Marceline Dusabimana, a widow with six children, received food aid this week distributed by Caritas. “I have witnessed war for the past 15 years. I moved from one camp to another. We are completely dependent on humanitarian aid, because we lack the means to buy food,” she said.
Millions of people have been killed in decades of war in Congo and two million remain without homes in the east.
Leaders of Caritas organisations and the Catholic Church in Africa joined together last week to condemn the violence against the people of Congo.
“We ask our Caritas network, other charitable organisations of our respective Churches and humanitarian agencies to double their efforts to come to their help,” the bishops said in a statement.
Please contact Patrick Nicholson at Nicholson@caritas.va or call +393343590700