DR Congo

ACT Appeal DRC: Emergency relief - AFDC-42

Attachments

Relief & Rehabilitation in North Kivu & Oriental Provinces
Appeal Target: US$ 1,486,969

Geneva, 19 April 2004

Dear Colleagues,

The year 2003 saw some improvements in the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A peace agreement was signed by the four main political parties followed by the formation of a Transitional National Union Government. President Kabila who was sworn in April, 2003 is supported by four prime ministers from the four parties. Local and parliamentary elections are planned for 2005.

However, despite the political progress made in the country, the eastern part of the country and especially the provinces of North and South Kivu, Maniema and Oriental remain highly insecure mainly due to inter-ethnic clashes, fighting between various militia groups and general banditry terrorising the people of these areas. In May 2003 for example, the fighting in Ituri region resulted in over 400,000 people being displaced in Beni and its surrounding areas. A recent assessment early this year by the LWF in Bunia found over 53, 000 internally displaced people. Although the majority of these were receiving relief assistance from the humanitarian organisations working in the area, tens of thousands of others lived in desperate situations devoid of basic relief assistance. There are also reports of gross human rights violations with people being kidnapped, killed, tortured and maimed. Large numbers of women are being raped without an option of seeking medical attention due to lack of health facilities. A recent OCHA report stated that the eastern area of the DRC probably held the highest proportion of sexually violated women in the world.

ACT is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

The LWF, working in collaboration with ECC member churches will continue their relief and rehabilitation assistance to the war affected people in North Kivu and Oriental provinces. In the North Kivu (Goma) assistance will also continue to the 2002 victims of the Goma volcano which will mainly comprise the rehabilitation of schools for over 2,100 pupils. Other activities will include; distribution of agricultural seeds and tools, nutritional programs for under five children, emergency preparedness programs including some stockpiling of essential materials like plastic sheeting and blankets, capacity building on peace and reconciliation for member churches of ECC, trauma counselling and HIV/AIDS sensitisation.

Project Completion Date: 31 March 2005.

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

US$
Total Appeal Target(s)
1,486,969
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network
1,486,969

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS AG
8, rue du Rhône
P.O. Box 2600
1211 Geneva 4
SWITZERLAND
Swift address: UBSW CHZH12A

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, Thor-Arne Prois (phone +41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone + 41 79 203 6055)

or

ACT Appeals Officer, John Nduna (phone +41 22 791 6040 or mobile phone +41 79 433 0592)

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

John Nduna
Acting Director, ACT
Co-ordinating Office

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER

Lutheran World Federation / Department for World Service (LWF/DWS)

II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION

LWF/DWS - DRC/Rwanda is a programme of LWF/DWS Geneva. In March LWF finalised activities in its latest appeal in North Kivu Province (AFDC-31) with ECC/NK and its member churches to address the on-going emergency in the region - particularly assistance to IDPs in Beni. Concurrently, LWF also completed ACT Appeal AFDC-32 in Oriental Province together with ECC and its member churches.

LWF's intervention in the DRC in this appeal will be in North Kivu and Oriental Province. This appeal was not included in the submissions from regional ACT partners in January 2004 (AFDC-41) as the close down date for the implementation of LWF's appeals AFDC-31 and AFDC-32 was 31 March 2004. ACT partners in the region have been informed of this situation and consultations have taken place to assure co-ordination and to avoid duplication.

Implementing partners

The Church of Christ in the Congo, North Kivu (ECC/NK): is a provincial federation in North Kivu Province comprising 13 member churches. Although the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Congo (EELC) is not a member of ECC, they will be working in close collaboration with them in this appeal.

ECC/NK, along with its member churches, was LWF's implementing partner in providing assistance to victims of the volcano in ACT Appeal AFDC-21. ECC/NK and is currently LWF's implementing partner in ACT Appeal AFDC-31.

ECC/NK is aware of and committed to adhering to ACT's principles and guidelines, the Humanitarian Code of Conduct and willing to work according to the Sphere Standards.

The Church of Christ in the Congo, Oriental Province (ECC/OP): is a provincial federation in Oriental Province comprising 19 members.

ECC/OP with its member churches has co-operated with LWF since it reopened its activities in 2001 as their implementing partner in ACT Appeals AFDC-11, AFDC-22 and AFDC-32 in Kisangani and its surrounding areas.

ECC/OP is aware of and committed to adhering to ACT's principles and guidelines, the Humanitarian Code of Conduct and willing to work according to the Sphere Standards.

III. DESCRIPTION of the EMERGENCY SITUATION

Background

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with an estimated population of 55 million (OCHA), is the third largest country in Africa and shares borders with 9 neighbouring countries. After 7 years of war involving 6 foreign armies, the DRC is now emerging from a conflict that has cost more lives than any other since World War II with over 3 million deaths.

Following the war in Kisangani - LWF together with ECC/OP and their member churches provided emergency assistance to the war affect through ACT Appeal AFDC-11 in 2001 followed by AFDC-22 and AFDC-32. The latter AFDC-32 was very poorly funded i.e. 2.77%.

In January 2002, a volcanic eruption devastated the town of Goma in North Kivu Province rendering over 100,000 left homeless and 50,000 in need of emergency assistance. Refugees who fled across the border to Rwanda were assisted with food, shelter and non-food items by the ACT network (AFRW-21). A joint appeal from ACT members in North and South Kivu (AFDC-21) provided further assistance to the victims of the volcano.

The inter-ethnic clashes in Ituri and fighting between rebel groups resulted in over 200,000 internally displaced people (IDP) fleeing to Beni and surrounding areas in North Kivu in the second half of 2002. Following an assessment co-ordinated by LWF to evaluate the needs of the IDP population and the capacity of LWF with ECC member churches to respond, an appeal was submitted to ACT in February 2003 as part of AFDC-31 for assistance to IDPs. Also included in the appeal was a component to address the longer-term needs of Goma and its suburban areas particularly the "gaps" that had not been addressed in the AFDC-21 Appeal. A capacity building component for ECC was also included for emergency preparedness.

As a result of the renewed fighting in Ituri in May 2003 and the increase of IDPs to over 400,000 in Beni and surrounding areas, a revision of the LWF component of Appeal AFDC-31 was accepted by ACT with an increased budget and an extension of the completion date to 31 March 2004.

LWF's ACT Appeal AFDC-32 providing assistance to Kisangani and its surrounding area in Oriental Province concluded on 31 March 2004.

IV. DESCRIPTION of the SITUATION in the AREA of PROPOSED RESPONSE

The geographical priorities for LWF's area of intervention for this appeal are in the provinces of North Kivu and Oriental where OCHA reports that a total of 66% (2,000,000) of the country's 3,044,000 IDPs are located. An assessment of Bunia by an LWF mission in February 2004 indicated a great need for humanitarian assistance in the rural areas of Bunia and the south towards Beni. In this appeal, an initial intervention is also proposed in Bunia. Co-ordination offices for the provinces will be located in both Goma and Kisangani with project offices in Beni and Bunia.

Current political situation in the DRC

In spite of horrendous humanitarian crises and the complete collapse of both the economy and infrastructure in the DRC, a great improvement occurred in the political situation in the beginning of 2003. Over three years of Inter-Congolese Dialogue peace talks were successfully concluded and a peace agreement was signed by the four main parties followed by the formation of a transitional National Union Government. President Kabila was sworn in during the month of April and is supported by four prime ministers from different parties while the Parliament and the Senate were installed in August 2003. Currently a constitution is being developed which is due to be finalised by June 2004. Local, parliamentary and presidential elections are foreseen for 2005 - the exact details are currently being finalised by an electoral commission which includes civil society and church members.

Current situation in the area of proposed response

North Kivu Province

Goma: Two years have elapsed since the eruption of the volcano which devastated the town of Goma with the destruction of its main business area in addition to homes, churches, schools and health facilities and rehabilitation and reconstruction remains a major priority. The economy of the area and employment of thousands was based on the business sector - as Goma was the most important supply-line link connecting the flow of materials from Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya to the eastern portion of the DRC. Although small businesses appear to be flourishing, larger companies are only partially restored - resulting in continued high un-employment rate with large numbers of the population struggling for a means of survival.

Beni: The latest report from OCHA states that the number of IDPs currently registered in camps is 50,831. Although this figure does not reflect the larger number of IDPs who are being hosted by communities, it does indicate that the number of IDPs in the territory of Beni has decreased in the latter part of 2003. In LWF areas of operation in Beni, the populations of IDPs have remained relatively constant. In a recent assessment which included interviews with IDPs, most expressed grave concerns regarding the stability of security and indicated that they will not be returning for the foreseeable future.

Oriental Province

Kisangani / Tshopo: The 7-year war in the DRC has all but destroyed the crumbling infrastructure that existed during the last years of the Mobutu regime. A report from OCHA in 2001 stated that government spending on health and education had dropped to less than 1% of government expenditure leaving nearly a third of the children malnourished with 10% severely so. The report also stated that only 40% of the children were able to attend school and approximately 30% of the population had access to primary health care. The current situation in Oriental Province reflects that conditions have not improved - and if anything - have become worse.

Although river transport is now a possibility, attacks by armed bandits prevents this from becoming a viable form of transport and thus Kisangani remains isolated except by air.

Bunia: A recent LWF led assessment mission to Bunia (funded under the AFDC-31 Appeal) found an IDP population estimated to be 53,000 receiving humanitarian assistance from 15 agencies including UN organisations, national and international NGOs. Although several of the agencies are also providing assistance far to the north of Bunia - no assistance is being provided to the rural areas of Bunia or to the south of towards Beni.

Impact on human lives in the area of proposed response

North Kivu Province

Goma: The impact of the eruption of the volcano still affects the lives of many whose homes, churches, schools and health facilities were destroyed. Many victims of the volcano have been unable to obtain alternative housing due to financial constraints and continue to live with friends or extended families. It is still quite common to find a small two room house providing accommodation to over 20 individuals. Existing educational facilities are over-burdened with most classrooms accommodating over 60 students.

Beni: The population of 150,000 IDPs living in the area of Beni have experienced unimaginable violations of their human rights including kidnapping, torture, rape and executions. Although details are not available on the number of men, women, and children - there are numerous female headed households - many of which are traumatised. OCHA recently reported that the eastern area of the DRC probably holds the highest incidence of sexual violence against women in the world.

Oriental Province

Kisangani / Tshopo: The scars of the long struggle for survival by the rural population of Kisangani and Tshopo Districts are visible at a glance - especially among the children and vulnerable. High rates of malnutrition, limited primary health care and lack of educational facilities are the problems that are faced on a daily basis by most of the 8 million population of Oriental Province. The need for rehabilitation and reconstruction of facilities - especially in health and education is overwhelming.

Bunia: The impact of the emergency situation on human lives in the area of Bunia is immeasurable. During the inter-ethnic violence, high levels of crimes against civilians were committed by both ethnic groups.

While IDPs from neighbouring villages left their homes to escape violence, the displaced people within Bunia Town are mostly individuals who cannot go back to their homes as these are either occupied by squatters or their houses are simply situated in the wrong areas in Bunia Town - occupied by a different ethnic group.  In addition to IDPs, many families are sharing accommodation and those returning have difficulties in re-possessing their property.

Description of damages in the area of proposed response

North Kivu Province

Goma: The damages and destruction caused by the volcanic eruption in Goma and its surrounding area are still evident - although one can see progress in the removal of buildings destroyed by the lava flow and the construction/rehabilitation of facilities in the surrounding areas.

Many of the temporary classrooms constructed/rehabilitated as an emergency measure following the eruption of the volcano have been designated as permanent but now urgently require permanent walls to replace the decaying plastic sheeting which provides little or no protection from the elements.

Beni: Beni and its surrounding area carry the major burden of IDPs from Ituri - hosting up to 150,000. Although the local population has made great efforts in providing hospitality to the IDPs, their coping mechanisms are over stretched and additional humanitarian assistance is required - especially in the sectors of food security and education.

Oriental Province

Kisangani: The town of Kisangani and its surrounding areas are still suffering from years of isolation and fighting. Malnutrition rates are high with low food production in most areas. Although a limited amount of river traffic now exists, most products continue to be transported to the region by air making costs very high and the prices unaffordable for most people.

Bunia: During LWF's assessment of the town of Bunia, the mission observed a considerable amount of damage and destruction to buildings. This situation has been exasperated by the looting of roofing sheets from buildings/houses with minimal efforts from MONUC to control the situation. In the rural areas of Ituri, most villages have been burnt razed to the ground. Local authorities have also reported that education did not escape the inter-ethnic violence and numerous schools have been looted or destroyed.

Security situation in the area of proposed response

Although the general security situation in LWF's area of operation in the DRC has improved in the last 12 months, it is still fragile and remains a huge factor that must be taken into consideration when planning interventions.

North Kivu Province

Goma: The town of Goma and its surrounding areas is currently calm with a reduced number of security incidents. The transfer of power to new leadership in North Kivu is complex and has the potential to be problematic.

Mt. Nyiragongo continues to expel large quantities of gas which can be seen glowing above the volcano at night. The UN volcano status report has been "yellow" for the last 18 months - which means that residents must continue to be vigilant.

Communications and road access to Goma from Rwanda and surrounding areas are usually adequate but there are the occasional break-downs in the network and landslides that block roads.

Beni: In general, the territory of Beni is quite secure - with implementation of assistance to IDPs by LWF/ECC able to take place without security constraints. It should be noted that road access between Beni and Goma is still problematic with frequent attacks on vehicles by armed groups at the half-way point.

The telephone network in Beni is usually acceptable but e-mail access is limited to one Internet Café.  It is presently recommended that access to Beni be limited to air.

Oriental Province

Kisangani: The establishment of the new government in Oriental Province has brought about a change and restructuring of the military command base including the integration of rebel forces into the army. This process has not been easy - particularly on the issue of gun control which initially led to feelings of insecurity.

With the appointment of a new military leader, the general security of the area has improved, the dreaded road blocks have been removed, and thus the commander has become very popular with the population in Kisangani and surrounding areas.

Communications with Kisangani have improved greatly during the last year - but frequent break-downs in the system are still experienced. Access to Kisangani is still limited to air.

Bunia: In a recent meeting with the UN Field Security Officer, LWF's Assessment Mission was advised to restrict its movement to the secure central portion of the town of Bunia. Residents feel that MONUC should follow the practices of the EU Force led by the French and take firmer action in implementing their mandate.

Ethnic division continues to be responsible for numerous deaths in Ituri which prevents individuals from travelling safely even to areas within Bunia Town. During LWF's recent Assessment Mission, a staff member from the LWF/Kisangani Office was unable to participate due to her ethnic background.

Telephone communication with Bunia is usually reasonable and an Internet Café is currently being established. Access to Bunia is currently limited to air.

NOTE: Communications remains a priority and as the public networks are not always reliable, satellite communication systems for telephone and e-mail are required at all locations where LWF operates.

Location for proposed response

LWF's proposed area of intervention for this appeal is in the provinces of North Kivu and Oriental where there will be no duplication or over-lap of activities with other ACT partners. Although the co-ordination office will continue to be in Goma, activities have been reduced due to the presence of other ACT partners.

North Kivu Province

The location of the proposed response in North Kivu Province located in the most eastern part of the DRC includes:

  • Goma Town
  • Beni and surrounding areas

Oriental Province

The location of the proposed response in Oriental Province located in the north-eastern area of the DRC includes:

  • Kisangani Town and its rural areas, plus Tshopo District
  • An initial intervention in Bunia Town and the surrounding rural areas in Ituri District.

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