KINSHASA, Congo, JULY 3, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The international Caritas organization has launched an appeal for $12 million to give basic care to some 400,000 displaced people in Congo, particularly rape victims.
The aid agency reported today that fighting since the start of the year has increased, thwarting hopes that the situation would improve with the arrest several months ago of the rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.
There are some 1.3 homeless people who need food, shelter and medical care. That same number of children are suffering from malnutrition. And during the first quarter of this year, there were at least 1,330 cases of rape in South Kivu, the agency reported.
Caritas is particularly concerned about Congolese women and children. With this appeal, the aid organization plans to provide medical care and counseling for 250 survivors of rape.
Caritas Congo National Director Bruno Miteyo explained: “The war is far from over in Congo and neither is the misery for the people. Hundreds of thousands more have been driven from their homes in fresh clashes between militias and the government. Their homes have been looted or burned.
“Protection from attack, rape and looting is the most urgent need. The people also urgently need food, health care and security. Caritas is able to reach the most vulnerable through parish and diocesan networks.”
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On the Net:
Caritas Congo appeal: www.caritas.org/activities/emergencies/UrgentAppealCongo.html