DR Congo: Caritas seeks urgent funds to help refugees

 The consortium of Catholic charity and development organizations, Caritas Internationalis, has launched an emergency appeal for USD1.5 million to help 90,000 people displaced by violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The appeal will fund the urgent non-food needs of people uprooted in North Kivu. Renewed fighting in North and South Kivu since the end of August has hit the civilian population hard with an estimated 100,000 people fleeing their homes and taking shelter in camps.

The five-month project by Caritas will provide household items such as blankets, hygiene products and cooking equipment to 15,000 families who have lost their homes and possessions in the violence.

Caritas DRC has reported 17 deaths from cholera in a camp to the west of Goma. Some cases of malnutrition have been reported among children and nursing mothers.

Clashes between government troops and rebels have hampered access to people who need urgent help and have made the monitoring of needs difficult.

Last week Caritas DRC urged a ceasefire and the opening of a humanitarian corridor to improve access by aid agencies to those who had left their homes.

Fighting has continued despite the Congolese Government,s approval of a UN plan for all sides to withdraw their forces on September 17. This followed the signing of a ceasefire agreement in January.

Since August 28, 2008, fighting has resumed between the Congolese army and the forces of renegade general Laurent Nkunda's National Congress for the Defense of the People, as well as other armed groups, breaking a fragile ceasefire that had been in place since the Goma Peace Agreement was signed on January 23.

Source: CISA

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