Between October 2022 and January 2023, more than 200,000 people were forced to flee their homes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in an attempt to escape what the UN has called ‘unspeakable violence’. Horrific and indiscriminate attacks compelled people to run for their lives, leaving behind their farms, their livestock, and everything else they owned. Since then, the number of people who have been displaced has increased even further.
No choice but to run
‘They had no choice,’ Tearfund’s Country Director in DRC, Hebdavi Kyeya, tells us. ‘They didn't have enough time to carry the basic things that they needed. They had to rush out of their homes and run away – just trying to save their lives. Some of them lost their lives on the way. Some of them had babies on the way. Some of them were pregnant. We're talking about women, we’re talking about children – young children, babies, the elderly, so many people who have run away.’
The situation is devastating for so many families in the region. It’s the latest in a long-running series of attacks by armed groups that has seen several East African countries send troops to DRC in the last year to try and help bring peace to the area.
Nowhere else to go
For many people, they have nowhere else to go but temporary camps.