Mercy Corps is providing more than 400,000 liters of potable water per day to people living in displacement camps in and around the city of Goma - up from 200,000 liters per day just last week. In addition, the agency is building latrines and working with camp residents to prevent cholera.
"In my three-and-a-half years in Congo, I've never seen such a dire situation. There are enormous water and sanitation needs," said Luke King, Mercy Corps Country Director in Congo. "We have more than 200,000 newly displaced people in an area that was already stretched thin by a massive influx of people last spring."
Mercy Corps has also been working to minimize the environmental strain of the displaced by distributing thousands of fuel efficient stoves and firewood. The stoves use less than one-half of the firewood that conventional open-flame cooking methods require. As a result, deforestation normally associated with large displacement camps is significantly lessened. In addition, security is improved because women do not have to collect wood as frequently, a process that often exposes them to risk of assault.
More than 200,000 people have fled fighting since early last week. A frail ceasefire between rebel groups and the Congolese military continues to hold, though renewed fighting this week near the town of Rutshuruhas created anxiety and forced more people on the move.
Mercy Corps will continue monitoring the situation in and around Goma, and will provide humanitarian assistance as long as the security situation permits.
HOW TO HELP:
Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided $1.5 billion in assistance to people in 106 nations. Supported by headquarters offices in North America and Europe, the agency's unified global programs employ 3,500 staff worldwide and reach nearly 16.4 million people in more than 35 countries.