Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 289

New violent hotspots, eastern Congo

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 23 febbraio 2018

“We are deeply alarmed to see the ever-increasing zones of insecurity,” say the Congolese bishops in a statement issued 19 February. Two serious outbreaks of inter-ethnic fighting in the eastern part of the country, in Ituri and Fizi, are adding to a rapidly deteriorating situation for the civilian population.Caritas Bunia in the northeast region of Ituri has sent out an SOS, after massacres took place during nine bloody days from 2-10 February, causing a massive displacement of the population and sparking a humanitarian crisis.At least 30 people are dead, 2,000 homes burned down and over 100,000 people have been forced from their homes. Schools are closed and hospitals stand empty, as even the very young and the sick have fled for their lives.
An emergency field evaluation by Caritas reports enormous need amongst these displaced people for food and shelter, non-food items, education, clean water and sanitation. Ireland’s Caritas member organisation Trocaire is active in the area alongside three dioceses and Caritas Congo, and is appealing for emergency funding.“The Congolese state must properly fulfill its role as the protector of civilians and their property,” says the diocese of Bunia. “It must stop this barbarity without further delay and punish those responsible.”Meanwhile further south in Fizi, South Kivu, thousands have been killed and around 125,000 displaced by conflict between the Congolese army and local armed groups. Caritas Uvira is reporting an alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation since December, with people fleeing in all directions, many crossing into Burundi and Tanzania.Caritas describes the urgent need for food, shelter, and healthcare for people who have suffered grave human rights abuses including rape, wounds, torture, arson, arbitrary arrest, forced labour and generalised lack of access to any services.The conditions for children in Fizi are particularly severe, with a very high rate of malnutrition pre-existing the present conflict and more than 80 per cent of displaced children not attending school. Child mortality is high, not only from malnutrition but from anaemia, diarrhoea and malaria.Caritas is carrying out evaluations of the situation and coordinating weekly with the UN agency OCHA to meet the needs of the displaced population. (by Patrick Nicholson)


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