You are viewing an archived version of HEAL Africa. - To view the current site, click here

HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
Home »

HEAL Africa November 1 2008 Update 2008

Our friends in Congo continue to live on the edge of chaos.  It is Saturday morning on the US East coast.  We just talked with Dr. Jo Lusi in Goma.  It has been a quiet day in Goma. Yesterday there was a large panic after the CNDP (Nkunda’s army) shot rockets at MONUC (UN Peacekeeping troops) outside of Goma. The World Food Program was on the road to deliver food that many refugees were depending on for survival. MONUC told them to turn around after the rocket attack, leaving tens of thousands of people with nothing to eat.

All the shops in Goma closed while this was going on, but are beginning to open up again after yesterday's panic.  MONUC's forces have been built up substantially, so Dr. Jo feels there is adequate protection for Goma.   There was a big battle yesterday in Rutshuru with many killed and wounded, and it seems that MONUC is now in charge there, supporting the MayiMayi against CNDP forces.

The hospital has treated over 250 victims of war free of charge and is focusing on women, children, and civilians caught in crossfire.

Joseph Ciza daily places himself in danger by traveling through rebel-controlled territories to help assess the situation to provide care for the wounded around Rutshuru. He is respected by all of the armed groups and is able to go places that no other humanitarian organization has access to.

Virginie Mumbere traveled to the surrounding refugee camps as well as a church and school in Goma where 500 families were crowded into a space that is not fit for 50 families. They were sleeping in the schoolrooms, in the church and many of them were in the dripping, cold raid. They tried to set up shelters, but had nothing to keep the rain out. Local neighborhood families are trying to assist by sharing their food-but can you imagine 4000 people moving in to your neighborhood at once?  

These clashes will make peace and reconciliation much more difficult.  Fear and instability over the last 14 years have destroyed many of the long patterns of peaceful coexistence.  According to Dr. Jo this morning, the talks in Nairobi really didn't resolve much.  He is afraid this will not be solved easily or without much more loss and pain. The school asked for help to have someone in charge of keeping the school toilets clean and disinfected, and essential medicines.  But she says, ‘THE BIGGEST NEED IS FOR AN ESTABLISHED PEACE SO THESE VILLAGERS CAN RETURN TO THEIR HOMES AND THEIR FIELDS.’

The donations that you have made will allow HEAL Africa get help out quickly to places that are off the "grid" where no other organizations are able to travel.  Thank you so much for the contributions that have come through in the past days!  This is so very needed right now!

The people of HEAl Africa are out in the field, know the needs, who to trust, and can get the job done far more effectively and efficiently than people who come in without language, without knowledge of the situation and circumstance. Thank you for your help and continued support.  

Call your congressmen and women or MPs, and ask that your diplomats put political pressure on the parties to resolve their issues and allow the people of Central Africa to live in peace.