The Anglican Alliance has kept you informed about the situation in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo thanks to the constant communication with Bishop Bahati Bali-Busane Sylvestre from the Diocese of Bukabu.
Bishop Sylvestre has asked for prayers for people in his area who are suffering desperate hardship in the middle of the conflict. He has provided a dramatic report of the situation and is appealing to all members of the Communion.
Last year we circulated updates and also posted an appeal on behalf of Bishop Sylvestre to support the relief work of his Diocese. This appeal received a wide response from different parts of the Communion: the Diocese of Durham made a donation as well as the Diocese of Coventry and the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Geneva.
The Australian agency, Anglican Board of Mission generously gave a grant to the Diocese of Bukavu and prayers have been said for all the people that have been affected.
The Anglican Alliance's guidelines for posting appeals require Dioceses to report how the donations have been spent as well as any changes in the situation. Bishop Sylvester has sent us a report explaining how the donations were used to help 200 families, a total of 900 people, with food items: beans, sugar, salt, maize flour and cooking oil. He also described the security challenges that they faced during the distribution of food and provided various pictures.
It is evident that the Anglican Church in Democratic Republic of Congo is a key humanitarian actor, it is a place of refuge for the displaced communities and one of the few institutions with access to these difficult areas.
Bishop Sylvestre has been providing the Anglican Alliance with first hand information since the M23 organisation took over the city of Goma. He has described the dramatic situation in which the population has had to live in since then, including the disasters below:
- Rape and assaults on women
- Recruitment of child soldiers
- Food insecurity: usually Goma and Bukavu towns get food from Kalehe (Minova), Rutshuru and Masisi, areas which now are occupied
- Lack of electricity
- Lack of water and sanitation: this situation has provoked the outbreak of illnesses and also created tension among the communities that struggle to get water from the lakes
- Reduced transport, it is difficult to move outside of Goma by land or by the river
- Schools closures or reduction in classes
- Local authorities have provisionally moved their offices to other towns
According to the last report of the United Nation Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (OCHA), there are 914,000 people displaced in North Kivu who are in great need of protection as well as the aid workers in the area.
Thousands of people have fled to neighbouring Rwanda, Uganda and further down to Zambia, as the Anglican Alliance's recent visit to Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement in Western Zambia could confirm.
Bishop Sylvestre sends a message to all members of the Anglican Family: "L'Eglise Anglicane du Congo appeals to men and women of good will to pray for the Eastern part of DRC and to continue assisting the community victims of the war".
The Diocese of Bukavu will provide updates about the progress of the situation and how resources have been used to respond to this emergency.