|Democratic Republic of Congo – War and cholera. Emergency in Goma|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo – UNO Day for Innocent Children Victims of Aggression: the situation in Goma|
(ANS – Goma) – The situation in North Kivu, a Province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, continues to be tense and with terrible acts of violence. So far the city of Goma has not been involved in the conflict but it is constantly receiving new refugees fleeing from the violence.
A few days ago there was a sad example of the injustice of this war at the Don Bosco Centre Ngangi in Goma, when the International Committee of the Red Cross (CICR) brought there two children and their father.
The three were living with the rest of the family – the mother and two other children – at Ufamando Biriko, in an area that was still a theatre of war between the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Ruanda and the “Raia Mutomboki” Movement. While they were are home they heard shooting. The father went outside to see what was happening, but after a few minutes he heard shooting behind him and ran home. When he arrived his house was already in flames and his wife and two of the children were lying dead on the ground. The other two children were saved but had been wounded and were in shock having seen the death of their dear ones and themselves saved by sheer chance.
The UNO Mission for the Stabilisation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) recovered the survivors and brought them to the Ndosho Hospital in Goma. They were cared for in the hospital but not being able to return home because of the continued fighting they were brought by the CICR to the Don Bosco Centre.
The fighting within the country has consequences also for Goma and has made the situation in the city worse. On the outskirts of the city new refugee camps have been set up, some official others not. In one of these the Salesians carried out a small survey and discovered cases of malnutrition and then took the seven worst cases to their centre. Here they were given the necessary care. Normally they would have been returned to their families but with the present conditions in the camp their lives would once again been in danger.
At present the Don Bosco Centre has 125 children in its malnutrition recovery programme (there were 65 until only a few weeks ago). In the same time the number of orphans has increased from 54 to 72, and recently 19 ex child soldiers arrived 18 boys and a girl– who were transferred from the Caritas Centre in Rutshuru so that they might be removed from the war atmosphere and to avoid the return of further traumas.
“A few months ago they told us that the emergency situation was over. It hasn’t taken long to take us back three years,” was the bitter comment of Fr Piero Gavioli and Monica Corna, respectively the Rector of the Don Bosco Centre and a worker with VIS (International Voluntary Service for Development).