Caritas Australia has launched an urgent appeal for communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have faced escalating conflict and displacement since the rebel militia group M23 seized part of the country’s east last year.
Village communities have faced ongoing attacks from armed groups in North Kivu, a region bordering Uganda and Rwanda. Since October 20, the conflict has escalated, despite pledges for a ceasefire. It is believed that more than 300 people were killed in an attack on a village in eastern North Kivu province in early December.
The near-constant fighting has forced 188,000 people from their homes.
“While the world is busy and nobody is looking, we have M23 occupying villages forcing people to flee en masse from their homes. We must act quickly, because in one camp there are nearly 20,000 people crammed into one place, without water, sanitation or even shelter. This is a recipe for disaster,” said Lulu Mitshabu, Caritas Australia’s program coordinator for Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Huge numbers of children have lost their parents to conflict or illness and are now extremely vulnerable with almost no support. They don’t know where and how to access services and are really struggling with basic needs. In one of the camps, people are now hosting children who’ve lost their parents, which also creates a lot of protection issues.”
Nearly 18,000 households have found refuge in Kanyarucinya, north of the city of Goma. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people, mostly women and children, are staying in Kanyarucinya with limited access to humanitarian aid.
Caritas agencies and the World Food Program have distributed emergency food rations to 14,000 households in the camp, but people still do not have access to hygiene, clean drinking water, sleeping supplies, protection for children and education.
Caritas Australia launches urgent appeal for Democratic Republic of Congo (Caritas Australia)