DEC Congo (DR) Appeal has raised over £6m since launch

28/11/2008

DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:
 
“The money raised is a really encouraging response to the appeal and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed. For those who have not yet made a donation, please give as there is still time to help aid workers scale up their life saving work in the region.”
 
As fighting continues to rage in the strife-ridden eastern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNHCR confirmed that over 10,000 refugees crossed through Ishasha border town into Kanungu District of South-West Uganda yesterday. 
 
Uganda Red Cross staff and volunteers are registering refugees and unaccompanied minors and distributing essential items such as cups and plates as well as contributing to temporary shelters by providing tarpaulins and blankets. 
 
Ros Armitage, Conflict Manager at the British Red Cross has just returned from Uganda. She said: Thousands of people have fled, leaving behind their homes and all of their possessions and many have been displaced several times. With no shelter or food these vulnerable people are in desperate need of assistance. Red Cross volunteers are distributing emergency relief items and, with no toilets in the area, volunteers are also carrying out hygiene promotion activities in a bid to avoid any outbreaks of disease.
 
In the war-torn town of Kanyabayonga in eastern DR Congo Merlin have delivered life-saving drugs and medical equipment to people cut off from medical aid for the past few weeks.  
 
On the day the Merlin team arrived, hundreds of displaced people returned to the town from the forest, where they had been living with no food, no shelter and no clean water for days.  The appalling living conditions in the forest had left many of the returning families desperately sick with malaria, diarrhoea and other illnesses.
 
Merlin’s Project Co-ordinator Victor Mokeba said:
“We haven’t been able to deliver drugs in Kanyabayonga since the conflict erupted there at the end of October.  One of the centres has been calling us for four days, telling us that they were in desperate need.”
 
Nurses at the Referral Health Centre in the town started work with the drugs as soon as they arrived. Kakule Mangaha, who was on duty said: “There were several patients in a critical condition, and if these drugs hadn’t arrived today some of them could have died.”
 
One of the patients was a 15-month old baby, Kahindo Lutsongo, suffering from gastroenteritis. He was vomiting and had had a series of convulsions before slipping into a coma. Kakule administered Ringer’s Lactate, an infusion, within minutes of the drugs arriving and is now hopeful that Kahindo will recover.
 
The baby and his mother had been displaced after fleeing to the forest when they heard shots being fired. They had been living in the open air for a week, but finally came out to seek health care two days ago. 
 
Overall, Merlin are supporting 200 health centres in DR Congo, which includes some of the towns most affected by the recent violence, such as Kiwanja and Rutshuru.