Democratic Republic of the Congo, the crisis in North Kivu is becoming increasingly serious: there are now 300,000 displaced people in Goma

Democratic Republic of the Congo, the crisis in North Kivu is becoming increasingly serious: there are now 300,000 displaced people in Goma

ROME - The turning point of the armed confrontation between the March 23 Movement and the Congolese armed forces lies in the fact that the conflict is now approaching some densely populated areas, which is very worrying, denounces the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have already been forced to flee to Goma, which is beginning to no longer have sufficient space and resources to accommodate everyone. The risk is that the crisis will turn into a humanitarian catastrophe, with international organizations, including the ICRC, unable to help everyone.


The testimonials. “When the fighting became more intense, people panicked and started running in all directions,” a 35-year-old woman who lives in Masisi told the ICRC. “I fled with my six children, a pot and a tank, and took refuge in a school where there were already so many people”. Many are on the move all the time, the fighting is taking an unpredictable course and so people are forced to adapt. Like Rachel Masika, a 30-year-old mother of six, who told the ICRC about her epic story: “I took the road to Tongo, then I moved to Kabizo, where I stayed for a few days. Then I went to Katsiru. Then again to Kitchanga. After a week, people started fleeing again, so I went to Sake. It took me three and a half weeks total. It was exhausting."

The difficulties for humanitarian aid. These repeated displacements, together with the worsening security conditions, complicate the possibility of bringing humanitarian aid to the numerous victims of the conflict. The ICRC is currently caring for the wounded in Goma's Bethesda-Ndosho hospital complex, Bukavu provincial complex, where it runs a surgery program for trauma and war wounds, and at Beni hospital. It is also working with the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide first aid, improve access to clean water and sanitation, and reconnect displaced people with their families.

increasingly precarious living conditions. Most of the people fleeing the guns have taken refuge in makeshift camps, which are now also overcrowded. Other men, women and children in Goma were welcomed by residents who opened the doors of their homes. But living conditions are extremely precarious for everyone. “We sleep like herded animals, but what can we do? When you're displaced, you don't have time to sleep. You get by and put your head wherever you go, because you're not at home,” said a woman who took refuge in Sakè.

The flow of refugees. Humanitarian organizations estimate that there are now more than 300,000 displaced people in Goma. The authorities have made available several hectares of land where NGOs have set up sites equipped to accommodate people fleeing. The problem is that the daily flow of newly displaced people in both Goma and the surrounding area is putting pressure on essential services, making it difficult for both newcomers and locals to access everything they need to survive, from 'water to food to hospitals, which at the moment are dedicated almost exclusively to the care of war wounded.

The background. The M23 group, which according to UN reports is supported by Rwanda, claims to be fighting for the implementation of political agreements with the Congolese government, which provided for the safe return of Congolese Tutsi refugees who have been in Rwanda for two decades now. It also fights against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan rebel group that established itself in eastern DRC in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The M23 last year took control of a vast territory in North Kivu province, which borders Rwanda and Uganda, prompting half a million people to flee their homes, according to United Nations estimates.

Source link