CARE assists displaced people with cash vouchers, shelter, water and hygiene
Intensified fighting since April between the national army of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and various armed groups, has forced thousands of Congolese people to flee their homes.
Nearly two million people were already displaced within the DRC, and a new wave of violence in North Kivu province has led to thousands of additional displacements. In less than a month, almost 200,000 people in area twice the size of Belgium have fled their homes. They are seeking refuge with host families, or in camps scattered throughout the region. While the majority of people stay within the country, around 10,000 people have crossed the border to neighbouring Rwanda and 9,000 have fled to Uganda.
“People are traumatized and scared. One woman told CARE that during an attack on her village, five family members, including her mother-in-law, her husband and her child, have been killed,” says Aude Rigot, CARE’s North Kivu Provincial Director in DRC.
“It is difficult to reach people. Many of them are hiding in the forests. Road conditions are really challenging in the DRC and security constraints hampers aid efforts. But those who fled their homes need safe water, shelter and health care and they need it now.”
CARE has recently provided cash vouchers to purchase food and essential relief items at the market to 1,224 displaced and host families in Masisi, North Kivu. “We are also planning to distribute plastic sheets to 1,500 families who sought refuge in the spontaneous settlements so they can build themselves shelter. In addition, CARE is constructing water sources, building emergency latrines and promoting safe hygiene practices in areas affected by conflict,” explains Rigot. “We also plan to assist 3,000 additional families with food and livelihood assistance through vouchers and cash distribution.”
Assisting refugees in Rwanda
In neighbouring Rwanda, CARE is assisting Congolese refugees who have fled to Rubavu District in the Western Province and are now sheltering at the Nkamira Transit Center. The camp, which has the capacity to hold 2,500 people, has become the temporary home of about four times that number.
CARE’s initial operations included the provision and installation of a safe and hygienic system for the management of the solid waste generated by the thousands of refugees. In addition, CARE established basic sexual and reproductive health services to protect vulnerable people, especially women, from sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence and abuse.
CARE has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1994 and assists poor and vulnerable women, adolescent girls and boys as well as displaced and returning populations. CARE is committed to promoting their fundamental rights, their full participation in the governance of their communities and the peaceful, sustainable development of their country.