Here is Prayer Net 305
DRC-CONGO: Needs unmet as refugees flee from Congo to Congo
BRAZZAVILLE, 9 December 2009 (IRIN) - Aid agencies have been unable to fully
meet the needs of tens of thousands of people who have fled inter-communal
resources in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the UN
Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
And according to the Humanitarian Affairs Minister in the neighbouring
Republic of Congo, the refugees' destination, time is of the essence.
"We are also afraid of low water levels in the River Ubangi [which
separates the two Congos]," said Emilienne Raoul.
"From 15 December it will be difficult for boats to navigate the Ubangi,"
"There are now 77,488 refugees in Congo-Brazzaville," said UNHCR's crisis
unit chief Ben Boubacar Diallo.
"Given the number of refugees, the aid would appear to be insufficient. The
needs are enormous," he said, adding that the situation in DRC's Equateur
province had yet to improve.
"We will keep supplying domestic kits [comprising mattresses, mosquito
nets, blankets, basins and jerry cans] while mobilizing agencies," said
"Conditions are harsh. We have not yet registered epidemics because
agencies offering health services have been efficient and vigilant," he
So far the humanitarian response has involved:
- The World Food Programme on 8 December sent a boat with almost 300MT of
food and 1,500 litres of fuel up the Ubangi river to the northern Likouala
region, where the DRC refugees are now living along a 160km stretch of
riparian territory. Some 90 percent of the refugee sites can only be reached
from the river.
- The Italian government announced it has donated 300,000 euros
(US$442,597) to help meet the most pressing needs of the refugees for the
next six months.
- The World Health Organization has made 2MT of medical supplies available
to the Congolese government for delivery to the refugees.
- Some 500MT of food is warehoused in the southern city of Point Noir but
wagons are needed before they can be railfreighted to Brazzaville, from
where they will be sent to Likouala.
And here is prayer net 306
Since October 28, 2009, we have been in a state of heightened security at Pioneer Christian Hospital here in Impfondo, Congo. That was the day that we received the first civilian casualties from fresh fighting in Dongo, a town in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since October over 77,000 refugees have flooded across the Oubangui River into the Likouala Region of Congo from the Equateur Province of DRC.
We received two more waves of war wounded in November, and hear that more are on the way. From collateral damage, streams of very sick refugees and residents have been flowing into Pioneer Christian Hospital for HELP. Currently more than 50% of our patients need nutritional support, have only the clothes on their backs, and no means to pay for the care we administer. At the same time, we are trying to stem the tide of a confirmed Swine Flu epidemic that has already taken the lives of 3 of the 10 contagious children.
We are glad to be here doing our best to stretch our limited resources and minister effectively to very real needs, but the stress of being so close to a war zone is starting to take its toll.
Things seem to be getting noticeably worse instead of better. God knows if things are about to turn around, or descend into complete chaos, but I believe He wants us to be prepared either way.
A lot has happened just this week:
- On Tuesday, Laurent Fuka (17 year-old son of our surgeon) arrived home after evacuating from Bwamanda, DRC, where he has been attending boarding school for the last year and a half. He and 7 classmates spent a week, fleeing from the rebels on foot, pirogue, UN motorboat, and truck. They had several close encounters on the way. Before leaving one of Laurent’s classmates went to the market to buy some food and was killed by the rebels.
- Tuesday evening we were called upon to treat two wounded rebels at the government hospital. One is a 14 year old boy with a bullet in his right humerus. The other is a 22 year old with a bullet in his buttocks.
- Tuesday night some people came to the government hospital looking for the wounded rebels, intent on rendering vigilante justice. The staff was able to hide the patients, but this significantly delayed them from getting the care they need.
- Wednesday morning during morning report at Pioneer Christian Hospital our maintenance staff heard gunshots coming from the river. This was around the same time a Central African Riverboat was released by the rebels after being held overnight. Occasional gunshots have been heard several other times this week too.
- On Thursday local public high school students went on a riotous rampage after the government teachers went on strike instead of administering final exams for the semester. The students trashed their school, then attacked several private schools in town, beating up other students and staff, destroying classrooms, and smashing computers. The gendarmes and police were called in and ended up arresting 11 students.
- Thursday night a river boat and barge hired by the United Nations to bring emergency food rations for the refugees came under repeated attacks from armed men in dugouts, and motorized longboats recently stolen from the UN refugee agency in DRC. The barge was flying the UN flag and the pusher was flying the Congo-Brazzaville flag. The attack was finally repelled with support from a Congolese military attack helicopter.
- Friday we were interviewed about this crisis by a correspondent from Bloomburg News Service. Maybe it will play on National Public Radio.
- Friday night a river boat barge loaded with fuel for Impfondo was also attacked. Congo-Brazzaville government soldiers traveling with the barge opened fire, reportedly killing a number of DRC rebels, whose bodies fell into the river. The boat arrived in Impfondo this morning with a helicopter escort.
- Saturday the regular Air Congo flight was postponed, and some people say it is because of the increased military activity downriver from Impfondo.
I think we have no choice but to raise our security alert level and review and implement emergency planning.
I didn't want to write this message. As far as we know, we are not in immediate danger, but we do need your help. If you would be willing to join our intercession team to pray for our protection, wage spiritual warfare, and ask for peace on this part of the earth, please send a short message to Danielle Ralston and let her know what day(s)/time(s) you will be praying.