Eruptions of violence are devastating communities in various parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The latest fighting in the Kasai region has left three million people without enough to eat – including 400,000 children. Clashes between the army and rebel groups has meant farmers have been unable to plant crops for several years.
And in recent weeks, violence has broken out between Lendu and Hema communities in the north eastern Ituri province. Villages have been attacked and burned, with many women and children killed. Tearfund’s partner in the province has said that 25,000 have fled their homes without anything, leaving behind their food supplies, household goods, fields and livelihoods.
In total seven million people are in need of humanitarian support across the DRC. Tearfund and our partners are there, working with those in greatest need.
It has been two years since the latest term of President Joseph Kabila ended in 2016. The country is still to hold a subsequent presidential election; the planned 2017 elections did not materialise and it won’t be until 23 December 2018 that the people go to the polls again.
An accord had been brokered by the Church over a year ago stipulating that Kabila could remain in power provided new elections were held in 2017. The deal fell through but the Catholic Church has remained determined, supporting marches on 31 December 2017 and 21 January, both of which were heavily repressed.
According to the AFP news agency, the DRC’s main opposition party, the UDPS, is set to join a march on 25 February backed by the Catholic Church to demand Kabila's resignation.
Presence and impact
Tearfund has been present in the DRC since 1986 working through partner organisations, and since 2001 our own staff have been involved in practical response work.
With the ongoing crisis we have been distributing much-needed food supplies, helping to provide clean water, and training in farming skills and other ways to make a livelihood.
With the renewed violence in Ituri our partner, Action Entraide, is planning an immediate response to provide food and other items essential for the safe collection of water, safe hygiene practices, and the preparation of food, to around 9,000 people.
Tearfund’s Country Director for the DRC, David McAllister, says: ‘It is absolutely heartbreaking and rips one apart emotionally to witness, almost on a daily basis, the barbarity of the attacks on the innocents and the continuous suffering of millions here in DRC.
‘I am overwhelmed and almost broken as I see the great need as we try our best to bring some kind of life saving assistance. Yet, with our faithful, committed and dedicated partners here in DRC, and with our team of Tearfund staff and in the knowledge that so many of the Lord's people are praying and supporting, we press on and continue to give that cup of water in the Master's Name.’
- Please pray for a calming of violence across the DRC and pray that affected communities would not enter a cycle of retaliation and revenge.
- Please pray for all those who are suffering and caught up in the violence.
- Ask God to protect our team and partners in DRC as they work in these difficult circumstances.