Ready and prepared in the face of a disaster

Posted by Tearfund

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), more than 2000 people died from Ebola before the outbreak was declared officially over on June 25th of this year. Devastatingly, Covid-19 has also struck the nation. So far, more than 10,550 Coronavirus cases have been confirmed.

The DRC is one of the poorest counties in the world. With food prices rising dramatically, coronavirus-related restrictions have put added pressure on the economy; an economy that relies heavily on imports for essential supplies. In addition, the health system is also not strong enough to deal with the pandemic.

Despite many cities and communities under lockdown because of the virus, many pastors, like Reverend Muhogera Ngaboyeka Marcel, still believe that it’s vital to connect with his community and congregation.

Reverend Muhogera is a chaplain for Eglise du Christ au Congo (ECC), a Tearfund partner. He says, ‘It’s the first time in my life that all churches are closed on Sunday, and no choirs, no more prayers sessions, no gathering activities… And, for us pastors, this is the time to be close to our fellow believers.’ He continues, ‘I call them to stay in touch, find out how they are doing and pray for them. Even though we depend on the church offerings to live and take care of our families, with no offerings we have to keep the church going.’

To help support churches and organisations in the fight against the virus, Tearfund ran a workshop to engage communities during lockdown and to help spread awareness about the importance of handwashing, good hygiene and social distancing. Reverend Muhogera was one of many who took part in the workshop.

Tearfund also distributed hand washing kits and digital thermometers to its partner organisations. Kits were then distributed to public places such as schools, markets, health posts, and churches, and rainwater tanks will be installed to make sure there is enough water. The expertise and lessons learned in the response to Ebola formed the basis of Tearfund’s approach.

Hebdavi Muhindo, Tearfund’s Country Director in the DRC says, ‘Our best chance is to work together with local authorities, faith leaders and healthcare providers to educate the community, and also to do whatever we can to ensure people have clean water and soap for handwashing so that they have the means to follow guidance issued.’

Pastor Muhogera believes that, although the need is great, it is hope that is sustaining families and communities. His message is simple and biblical: ‘You know, “all things work together for the good of those who love God”.’ (Romans 8:28)

We couldn’t do what we do without you, and your support will mean that we can help more churches, organisations and communities to be ready and prepared for when disaster strikes. A gift of £9 a month will help us show people, like Reverend Muhogera and his congregation, that they haven’t been forgotten.

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