Bringing aid to the displaced in eastern DRC

June 22, 2012
by 
Guy Des Aulniers, Emergency Programs Officer
Thousands have been displaced in the DRC by conflict

Recent conflict between the supporters of General Bosco Ntaganda and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in North Kivu has led to the massive displacement of thousands of people in the region.

Most of the displaced have taken refuge in villages in the interior of North Kivu or close to the Rwandan border, and have been left destitute after fleeing quickly from their homes without taking any of their possessions. After several consultations amongst the displaced communities, it has become clear that they are facing tremendous difficulties in meeting their everyday needs. Food items are being provided by the World Food Programme (WFP), however, these communities have little access to other necessities, such as blankets, tarps, clothing, toiletries, etc.

Caritas Congo has launched a humanitarian aid program in response to this situation (the distribution of essential non-food items and tarps), which will bring aid to 10,039 displaced households, 8,039 of which are in North Kivu and another 2,000 in the Western Province of Rwanda. All of these households were victims of confrontations that took place between March and May 2012 in the east of the DRC. Development and Peace is contributing $50,000 towards this program, which will cost a total of $2 million.

Conflict in the region arose after the Congolese government announced that it intended to put General Bosco on trial for war crimes involving the recruitment and use of child soldiers in conflicts that took place in the DRC between 2002 and 2003. There is currently a warrant for his arrest that was issued by the International Criminal Court in August 2006.

General Bosco has also been linked to the illegal trade of minerals from Kivu, as mentioned in several reports from expert groups of the United Nations on the DRC that have repeatedly denounced the involvement of officials within the Congolese and Rwandese armies in this trade.

Development and Peace has an important development program in the DRC, whose aim is to strengthen accountability and legal rights so that country’s riches will contribute to national and local development. The program has a particular focus on the extractives sector, which has been a primary source of conflict, corruption and poor governance in the DRC.