CAFOD fears the worst as reports come in that people are fleeing the provincial town of Goma, because rebel forces are circling the town.
Fleeing to makeshift camps
Fighting over the last few weeks has escalated between Congolese government army and rebel troops, which has led to more than 20,000 people fleeing to safety to a makeshift camp near Goma.
Antonio Cabral, CAFOD regional manager for the Great Lakes region, says: "Already thousands of people have fled towards Goma, this latest news means that more people will be forced to be on the move again, and our partners tell us that people are now heading out of town towards the south in the hope of finding safety.
"They are setting up makeshift camps, with whatever materials they can find. CAFOD partner Caritas Goma describes the situation as chaotic.
"A humanitarian disaster is unfolding before our eyes.
"The increased numbers of people fleeing the fighting means that the humanitarian effort will need to be scaled up, as people face the grim prospect of lawlessness, violence - especially against women and the abduction of their children.
"It is now vital that an immediate ceasefire is negotiated so that the protection of civilians can be secured and their access to life-saving humanitarian aid."
The money raised from the appeal will support the efforts of its trusted partners working on the ground, to provide basic items, such as blankets, pots and pans and plastic sheeting to the thousands now in need.
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