DR Congo

Churches respond to humanitarian catastrophe in the Congo

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Baltimore, Maryland - November 3, 2008: Evangelical churches are responding to what relief workers are calling a humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

The situation in eastern Congo is critical with thousands facing starvation, according to World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Along with other aid organizations, World Relief evacuated its expatriate staff last week because of the high level of insecurity as rebel forces advanced on the city of Goma. Many of the agency's Congolese aid workers, though, are staying to help the most vulnerable families.

It is estimated that 1.6 million people have been uprooted throughout Congo - equivalent to the population of Philadelphia. More than one million are on the move in eastern Congo, and 200,000 have been driven from their homes in the last few days.

"It is like the Bible says... the people are harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd," said Maurice Omollo, director of World Relief's programs in the Congo. "We are working in a very unstable environment in which many of the people have been uprooted by war and the infrastructure has been destroyed."

Reports of random killings, rape and other atrocities are widespread. "I don't know what is going to happen," said one aid worker, "but I think that Goma is going to fall."

Working with local churches at the scene, World Relief is gearing up to assist 3,000 families in Goma, targeting the most vulnerable people with food aid, shelter materials and blankets.

For more information, contact:
Andrea Kaufmann at 443-451-1966