A resurgence of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has caused thousands of displaced people to flood the city of Bunia, where a makeshift refugee camp has sprung up.
According to Jon Cadd, East DRC program manager with Mission Aviation Fellowship, “There are now 44,397 people registered at the camp with more coming all the time. There are so many people they are starting another camp outside of town to the north.”
In addition, many refugees are staying with family and friends in Bunia and nearby. The mother of one MAF staff member has 32 relatives staying in her small house. Cadd said that a local Congolese Christian volunteer group is trying to help with food and clothing for the refugees, but they are unable to meet the needs. Cooking pots and food preparation items are scarce. The camp has also run out of the tarps that people use to construct makeshift tents.
MAF’s Disaster Response department has allocated funds to provide food for the refugee camp. On Wednesday, March 7, MAF conducted three flights for people wanting to leave the area, and returned to Bunia with rice, maize meal, beans, and oil. In Bunia they purchased 1,200 plates and 1,150 cups. MAF is partnering with the Christian volunteer group mentioned above—operated by Rev. Bingi—to distribute the food and supplies.
“They were down to their last bag of rice and last six bags of maize meal,” said Cadd. “It felt like we were able to really make a difference in these peoples’ lives. But it is still a drop in the bucket for the 45,000 people there and the rest that are with family and friends.”
Please join MAF as we pray for the people affected by this crisis. Pray that this rounds of violence in EDR will cease. Pray for solutions to the issues underlying the crisis.