Primate’s Fund accepting donations for Congo

 Volcano refugees need aid

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is calling for donations for refugee relief in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the city of Goma has been devastated by volcano eruptions.

Hundreds of thousands of residents fled volcano eruptions which endangered their homes, then returned to Goma and surrounding villages less than a week later.

They returned, despite warnings that the area was still unsafe, rather than remain in refugee camps in Rwanda. By Jan. 22, an estimated 17,000-20,000 people were still seeking shelter in Rwanda.

Action by Churches Together, an international alliance of churches and relief agencies, including the PWRDF, reports that the Anglican Church in Rwanda and the Lutheran World Federation are distributing food and non-food items at two of the three sites established by Rwandan authorities. People are getting aid at a site in Ruhengeri and one of the two camps set up in Gisenyi.

Church partners estimate that up to half a million people were affected by the eruptions of Mount Nyiragongo, beginning Jan. 17. In addition to financial donations, PWRDF’s website notes that the most urgently needed items are plastic sheeting, blankets, kitchen utensils, food and drinking water.

PWRDF, the Anglican Church of Canada’s relief arm, has supported development work in the Congo since 1992, when the country was still called Zaire. Its work to date, said development co-ordinator Rob Shropshire, has focused on emergency relief and economic needs, as well as on “the political changes needed to provide a context of peace and democracy where development can take place.”

The country, explained Mr. Shropshire, has been at war since 1998, when Rwanda and Uganda invaded. Since then, up to 300,000 people have been killed and it is estimated that more than 2.5 million more have died from hunger and disease.


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