Congolese people displaced by war are returning home—with no belongings or livelihoods
Elise Cegielski is a communications intern for Samaritan’s Purse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In much of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, violence by rebel forces has created a volatile situation, displacing at least 1.5 million people and producing a need for humanitarian assistance. Violence and instability have reigned in the Congo for many years, and rebel groups throughout the country have fought against the Congolese military. After multiple displacements and losing everything, people face enormous challenges in trying to rebuild their lives. There are no state institutions to aid in their recovery, and continued instability makes it difficult for returnees to reestablish themselves.
Samaritan’s Purse is working in some of the most conflict-affected areas to rapidly respond to needs. We’re distributing kits to help people who are trying to recover from losing all their belongings. Each kit contains a mosquito net, a tarp and nylon cord, a sleeping mat, clothing, a women’s hygiene kit, a plastic washbasin, blankets, soap, kitchenware, and a jerry can.
Along with distributing these kits, we are also distributing food. At a distribution fair, a household of six will receive a monthly ration of corn, beans, vegetable oil, and salt.
Once people have basic necessities and have been fed, we will help them increase food security and livelihood capacity by distributing livestock and teaching training courses on agriculture.
At a distribution earlier this year in South Irumu, we learned that the displaced people had run from their homes in August 2013 because of fighting between the Congolese military and a rebel group. In January and February, they began returning to their homes, but they had been left with nothing. Nearly 1,000 people had been displaced from their village.
Although some villages have already received distributions, they still have many needs that haven’t been met. Others haven’t even received basic necessities yet. In mid-January, we’ll do our first distribution in Kamango. Around 3,380 families, who have been affected by rebel violence on the border of Uganda, will receive food and other items they need.
Please pray for the situation in the Congo, that the violence will cease and people will continue to be able to return home. When they return, they will have nothing left, so please also pray that we will be able to meet their needs and share the love of Christ with them.