DR Congo: Another village destroyed

Chris Hobbs
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Villagers at Marungu are given vital food supplies
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Villagers at Marungu are given vital food supplies

Last December in Marungu, a remote and impoverished region of the High Plateau in Eastern Congo, government forces initiated a crack down on rebel forces. With an influx of refugees and fleeing Interhamwe fighters the region was thrown into turmoil. There has since been heavy fighting within the region, which has been responsible for displacing large numbers of the population. DR Congo has a long history of violence with an estimated 3 million lives lost in the last decade due to conflict. This has devastated the social and development structure of the country leaving schools, hospitals and homes destroyed and many people without shelter and short of food and water. Despite a peace deal being brokered in 2003 the threat of civil war is still a possibility and the country remains in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. Reports from last December told us of rebels and government soldier’s alike taking cows, goats and crops from civilians. This has exacerbated the situation for families in the region whose livelihoods are being snatched away. At present, ARM Congo, a partner of World Emergency Relief (WER), is the only NGO on the ground providing support for the many displaced people in this region of the High Plateau. It was recently able to distribute food to over 700 people from two villages, Kafune and Kinyarama, which were evacuated in December due to the fighting. The distribution of flour, beans and potatoes was enough to feed these people for 20-30 days. On Friday, WER received news that another village in the High Plateau has been destroyed due to the ongoing conflict between the FDLR (Interhamwe rebels) and government forces. The village of Rubuga was home to 104 families whose houses have been burnt down and crops destroyed or stolen. These families have fled to Marungu village. ARM Congo is now faced with the challenge of providing food and shelter for over 100 additional families. According to Pastor Ruben, the local director of ARM Congo, it has only been possible to help 8 of these families so far and 96 others are in desperate need of support. ARM Congo, already overstretched by helping families from the two other villages that have been evacuated, is in desperate need of more supplies. Pastor Ruben told us: “Their chief, knowing that we have been caring for the families of these other two villages, has asked for some assistance. Rebuilding their homes will not begin for some time, but at present they are hungry and needing food and shelter. We are already committed to helping the families of Kafune and Kinyarama, but these other families are now in a desperate situation. They will greatly appreciate any help that people can give them. Those who we have been able to assist already are so appreciative that people from the West are praying for them and helping them.” Over the past few years ARM Congo has helped to rebuild a village called Rubibi, which had also been destroyed at the hands of rebel fighters. Pastor Ruben has faith that this achievement can one day be realised for the village of Rubuga. “I had the privilege of travelling to Rubibi last October and officially opening the village. We pray that we will be able to do the same for Rubuga so that, one day, it too can welcome back the families it has lost.”
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