Democratic Republic of Congo – "A gesture that saves": a call for solidarity for internally displaced people

01 March 2023

(ANS - Goma) - Throughout the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, clashes continue and thousands of people are suffering from the fear of war and the absence of resources. The Salesians present in that region are active across the board to bring relief to the pressing needs of so many people: thanks also to the collaboration of Salesian NGOs such as the International Volunteer for Development (VIS) or Salesian Missions Offices such as "Salesian Missions" in New Rochelle, in the United States, they are taking care of the internally displaced people present in the Kanyaruchinya camp and in front of the Salesian works in Goma and Shasha.

In the Kanyaruchinya camp - the largest IDP camp on the northern axis of Goma, home to more than 60,000 people - hundreds of war-displaced families have been receiving assistance from the Salesian emergency coordination active in the Central Africa Province-Eastern Delegation, in collaboration with the NGO "VIS." It has been more than two months since those living in official IDP camps have received assistance. Now 103 elderly people, representing their families, have received soap and a food ration consisting of beans, vegetable oil and rice. The rice was sent by Salesian Missions through its partnership with Feed My Starving Children, a Christian nonprofit organization committed to "feeding God's children who are hungry in body and spirit." The distribution was carried out by the Salesians through the "Don Bosco Missions-VIS" emergency coordination led by Fr. Carlos Balezi, SDB, Economer of the AFC-EST Delegation.

At the same time, the Salesians in Goma are also continuing to take care of the displaced people who have spontaneously encamped on the grounds of the "Don Bosco Ngangi" center - to date, about 28,000. The Salesians are giving them tarpaulins, blankets, clothes, water, cooking utensils, daily food rations for the children and their companions, free medical care... Overall, with the shipment of rice and other food received through "Salesian Missions" alone, they have helped 1,440 families.

In addition, since February 9, 2023, after several stops, nearly 600 displaced people belonging to about 90 families have settled on the grounds of "Don Bosco Shasha" Salesian center. They come from the west of Rutshuru territory and the north of Masisi territory. Again, the Salesians have provided them with tarpaulins, clothes, cooking utensils and emergency food.

A Salesian missionary active in the area explained, "This area of the Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely fertile and most of the families work in the agricultural center. However, more than 90 percent of the farmers had already sown their seeds and were at a stage where agricultural crops needed more maintenance to hope for a good harvest. Unfortunately, the war caught them unprepared and they were forced to leave their homes and take refuge in Ngangi."

This aid comes in a very particular context of great hunger in the camps for war-displaced people. The people who received the rice meals were extremely grateful for the donation, especially the children who anxiously await mealtime. 

As the fighting continues and escalates, the Salesians and their collaborators continue to look for ways to help support the displaced and continue to carry out Operation A Gesture That Saves, which unconditionally appeals for solidarity under the motto "Help Us Help Better." 

According to the UN Refugee Agency, the conflict has left more than 5.8 million people displaced in Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika provinces. 



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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