DR Congo

DR Congo crisis: Concern reaches families

Concern's team in Goma, in the North Kivu province of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, have today managed to supply 1,500 blankets to newly displaced families.

The people here had taken refuge in a vocational training centre normally used for orphans and disabled children. Some displaced people had walked over 60km to escape the recent spate of fighting and reach the safety of this impromptu camp.

Inside the walls

"There are currently 1,250 women and children inside the centre and 220 waiting outside," according to Concern's Area Co-ordinator, Fergus Thomas. "The ones inside will enjoy the protection of the high compound walls, the ones outside will be vulnerable and exposed. Among this group, there are 798 children under the age of five and 99 unaccompanied children. We were able to immediately hand over 1,500 blankets to contribute to alleviating their situation."

Cholera outbreaks

On the way to the camp, many of the displaced people fell sick with diarrhoea, malaria and vomiting. More than 30 were treated for cholera by agencies in the camp.

Ceasefire calls

Over the last few days, aid agencies continued to struggle to help thousands of people displaced by fighting in North Kivu. At the same time, African leaders, who were meeting in Nairobi, appealed for a ceasefire, calling for an end to the conflict and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor.

Concern's programme in Masisi

With the focal points of fighting shifting daily, Concern had been strongly advised against taking the road towards Masisi, which is the site of the agency's current programme. It has not been possible to assess the situation beyond Goma town first hand.

According to Fergus Thomas, "humanitarian access is nearly impossible outside Goma."

This week, however, Concern is making tentative plans to travel to Masisi should the security situation permit. This will allow the team to assess the impact of the unrest over the last two weeks to existing programmes and surrounding areas.

Essential support

While awaiting security clearance to travel to Masisi, Concern's team is preparing to support recently displaced families and some of the local families hosting them.

Concern plans to supply them with essential tools and seeds. Assessments of water and sanitation systems will also been undertaken as too will road and bridge rehabilitation around Masisi town and Rubaya.