DR Congo: Johanniter provides emergency medical relief for IDPs in North Kivu
09.03.2023 – Over a quarter million people are again on the run in the province of North Kivu, in the east of the country. The camps for displaced people around the provincial capital Goma are already overcrowded, and the hygienic conditions are precarious. Johanniter is providing emergency medical relief in four camps.
Berlin / Goma – Fighting between rebel groups and the Congolese army has continued unabated in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo since autumn 2022. Estimates put the number of displaced people at around 300,000. From the villages and towns around Rutshuru and Masisi, in the province of North Kivu, thousands of people stream daily into the provincial capital of Goma, on the border with Rwanda. One camp was planned for 10,000 people, but now there are 70,000. There are only seven latrines for all of them," said Florian Meyer, Johanniter programme officer, who is currently in Goma.
In one camp, more than 100 cases of cholera were reported within 24 hours. "And this is just the beginning," Meyer is certain.
Emergency medical relief in 4 camps
Johanniter has been active in the province of North Kivu for more than 20 years. They had to pause their medical activities in the different regions of the province due to the fighting. Therefore, they are now concentrating on the care of displaced people around Goma.
In four camps, mobile clinics have been set up to treat patients with malaria, respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases, and malnourished children on a daily basis. In addition, the Johanniter team is preparing for a major cholera outbreak. "We are currently delivering additional medicines and infusions from our stocks in order to be able to quickly treat many people with severe diarrhoeal diseases," reports the 55-year-old.
Appeal to the international community
The crisis in Congo has received little international attention, which is why Johanniter is calling for the displaced people not to be forgotten and for urgent funds to be released to support them.
For example, Johanniter currently pays for staff, medicines, and other materials from its own funds as well as donations to the German Relief Coalition. "With the funds, we can only continue our support until May," he said. "We cannot assume that the situation will have improved significantly by then. Rather the opposite."
Violence between the government army and the rebel group M23 has been escalating in the east of the country since October 2022. Vast areas outside the gates of the provincial capital Goma have already been captured by the M23.