DR Congo

Thousands flee fighting in Eastern Congo

News and Press Release
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Amid the uncertainties of peace negotiations on the heels of ferocious fighting in eastern Congo, Mercy Corps is supplying displaced families with the most critical resource of all: clean, fresh water.

Your support can help us ensure that supplies and basic services continue to reach families caught somewhere in between overflowing displacement camps and the home villages they had to flee in the face of violence.

Last week, widespread attacks by rebel groups displaced enormous numbers of people. More than 200,000 fled the fighting and sought refuge in communities and displacement camps near the besieged city of Goma, swelling the ranks of the displaced to about one million people.

Mercy Corps is playing a key role in emergency response efforts by providing lifesaving water, sanitation and other services to those forced from their villages and homes.

On October 28, we delivered more than 200,000 liters of potable water to the community of Kibati, where the majority of newly displaced families have sought refuge from the fighting. After a round of fierce fighting among combatants, we were one of the first humanitarian agencies to return to camps that had been temporarily abandoned earlier in the week. Many other organizations and agencies have left the area because of ongoing uncertainty. But for months, Mercy Corps has been working with camp residents to build latrines, prevent cholera outbreaks and deliver cooking fuel to those most in need.

"The situation is becoming critical. We have over 200,000 newly displaced persons, in addition to the 850,000 that were already displaced in the areas around Goma. The water and sanitation needs are enormous, but we're trucking potable water to people who desperately need it," said Matt Gribbin, Mercy Corps' program coordinator in Congo.

Even with current negotiations between rebel forces, the government of Congo and the international community, thousands of families are unsure of where to go and what to do. This situation is complicating the already-difficult task of providing for the needs of one million displaced people.

"In my three-and-a-half years in Congo, I've never seen circumstances so dire. The population here had already reached its coping capacity before recent events, and now they are in dire need of support from the international community. Without resources for continued services, we expect a steep increase in malnutrition and diarrhea-related diseases," said Luke King, Mercy Corps' Country Director here in Congo. "Nevertheless, we'll continue to make strong efforts to respond to the needs of the population".

Families in this part of Congo, who have endured the deadliest conflict since World War II, have already lost homes and loved ones. They are now trapped in communities and camps with no idea if - or when - the violence will resume. Please help us speed water and other critical supplies to them in their time of greatest need.

Your donations are needed to save lives, prevent worsening disease and build hope in a devastated environment.