Murder and rape in Congo: Irish Red Cross voices concern
"Women, children, older people and others who are not involved in the conflict continue to suffer. Reports locally indicate rape, looting and killing in the greater Goma region continues," said Noel Wardick, Head of the International Dept of the Irish Red Cross.
Tens of thousands of civilians have had to flee further north. These people are in a very vulnerable situation, as are the thousands of displaced persons near Goma.
The Irish Red Cross is accepting donations online and on CallSave 1850 50 70 70 to pay for work being done to save lives by the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement which is providing food, counseling in sexual violence, other medical services and water to tens of thousands of people in the region.
The Irish Red Cross is concerned that all parties to the conflict act in accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to preserve the lives and health of civilians, the wounded and persons captured in connection with the conflict, that they do not damage foodstuffs and that they allow in emergency aid to the beleaguered population.
Donations for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are being accepted online and 1850 50 70 70
What the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) is doing
Saké and Bweremana (25 km west of Goma)
- Since 19 November, the ICRC and volunteers from the CRRDC (Red Cross of Democratic Republic of Congo) have distributed food to over 50,000 people (both residents and displaced persons) in the town of Saké and the village of Bweremana.
- The food includes flour, palm oil, beans and salt. Distribution has been taking place in coordination with the World Food Programme, and the food will be enough for a month.
Camps at Kibati (15 km north-east of Goma)
- The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of the DRC have now finished distributing basic necessities to the over 34,000 displaced persons who have arrived at Kibati's displaced persons' camps since the end of October. In addition, 7,500 residents and newly-displaced persons have received emergency food aid in the form of flour, oil, beans and salt.
- The National Society and the ICRC are continuing to supply drinking water to areas around Kibati that have no infrastructure. Every day, more than 80,000 litres are delivered to distribution points at Kanyarutshina and Munigui, benefiting over 30,000 people.
- In close cooperation with the CRRDC, the ICRC is supporting two counselling centres in the camps. These facilities assist and counsel victims of sexual violence.
- Dozens of CRRDC volunteers are carrying out hygiene-awareness activities.
- The CRRDC has started distributing food to over 1,200 displaced persons who have taken refuge in five public buildings (schools and churches).
- An ICRC surgical team consisting of a surgeon, an anaesthetist, two nurses and a physiotherapist are working at Katindo military hospital. The hospital has also received medicines and other supplies to enable them to provide emergency treatment for the wounded.
Vitshumbi (Rutshuru territory, some 120 km north of Goma)
An emergency water installation at Vitshumbi (south of Lake Edward) was set up in October and is being managed by a local Red Cross committee. This facility is producing some 70,000 litres of drinking water a day, for 12,000 residents and displaced persons.
Béni - Butembo - Kirumba (150 km north of Goma)
- Following fighting in the town of Kirumba, CRRDC volunteers have been collecting and facilitating the identification of bodies, disinfecting and, where conditions allow, notifying relatives.
- In the towns of Béni and Butembo, National Society volunteers have been conducting a survey of displaced persons in public buildings and host families, with a view to organising aid for them.
- The ICRC has provided Butembo general hospital with medical supplies for treating the wounded.
- The ICRC and the CRRDC have been attempting to find children who became separated from their families as they fled. Local radio stations are playing an important role in these efforts.
- The ICRC has continued its protection and relief activities for the inmates of Goma prison.