Democratic Republic of Congo – 26 thousand displaced people need everything at grounds of "Don Bosco Ngangi" work

13 February 2023

(ANS - Kinshasa) - A few days have passed since Pope Francis' visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a trip that has renewed the Congolese Church and society by strengthening it in its desire for peace and progress. But the challenges to overcome are still all on the ground, especially in North Kivu Province, where, caught between war and violence, there are still thousands of people displaced and in need of everything, people to whom the Salesians are trying, with the means at their disposal, to provide answers and support.

"In Goma, the situation has not improved, on the contrary: after speaking with my confreres and the head of the Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo (VIS, or the International Volunteers for Development), who are engaged in humanitarian relief, I am sending you a message to tell you what the situation of the displaced people is and what the Salesians and VIS are doing for them," began Fr. Piero Gavioli, an Italian missionary in Congo for nearly 50 years.

In all the celebrations and meetings of his visit to the country, Pope Francis has clearly denounced the folly of this war and the economic reasons that make it last - first and foremost, the exploitation of the immense riches of the subsoil - and has called on all those responsible to make a clearer and more decisive commitment to justice and the common good. 

But meanwhile, in January 2023, the rebel military advanced and cut off the second main link that supplied the city of Goma with various products, after the first had already been cut off in late 2022. As a result, most of the population of the surrounding villages fled and the situation in North Kivu deteriorated significantly. Massacres, sexual abuse, organ trafficking, enlistment of minors, kidnapping people for ransom, etc. are cited.

"This latest wave of violence," the missionary resumes, "has prompted tens of thousands of people to leave their homes in search of relative safety in several areas of North Kivu Province, including Goma, and has caused the three football fields at the Don Bosco Ngangi Center to fill with temporary refugees. The latest figures speak of some 3,530 households, a total of 26,000 people, including more than 19,000 minors (10,184 girls and 9,043 boys). It is an emergency situation that calls all humanitarian workers, different members of society and all human beings in general to assist a community in distress."

The Ngangi site is not an official site. This means that it is not served by state and parastatal organizations. The Salesians, with VIS, have responded to the emergency with various initiatives in various areas (food, hygiene, health, security):

- Distribution of soybean and corn gruel to 365 displaced children and 357 adults

- Timely distribution of food and cooking utensils to 300 families

- Distribution of tarpaulins to 120 families

- Access to water through the installation of taps at the Don Bosco site

- Timely awareness raising on hygiene and sanitation

- Medical checkups for 1,844 people, including 84 hospitalized, 32 transferred, and 14 births.

- Site lighting

- Creation of a 12-person security committee to prevent abuse.

Since, apparently, the problem will not be solved soon, the Don Bosco Center and VIS are thinking of introducing a larger project of taking charge of this displaced site, with a view to psychological and social accompaniment of the people, and especially forms of education for the minors at the site.

"Let us pray together that the Lord will bless us and grant us peace, in Congo and everywhere," Fr. Gavioli concludes.

You can offer support via bank transfer to help the Salesians in DR Congo at the coordinates available in the attached pdf.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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