Emergency Actions to Support Internally Displaced People in Goma – Democratic Republic Of Congo
Project location: CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, Goma
Project start date: January 2013 - Project end date: March 2013
Project number: 2012-107
Beneficiary: Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo - VIS
TIMELINE OF THE PRESENT ACTIVITY REPORT: From 18/12/2012 to 31/03/2013
The initiative had two goals: on one hand, to contribute to the restoration of the minimum conditions for access to basic resources (nutrition, health and housing) to about 10,000 persons sheltered at the DBNG - Don Bosco Center of Ngangi (Goma) during the emergency phase in November-December 2012, helping them to go to official camps or to go back to their villages; on the other hand to normalize the living conditions of beneficiaries, especially abandoned children, children and adolescents still without parental care, vulnerable families who, in the post-emergency phase, have been welcomed and taken care of by the DBNG.
The conditions of insecurity and political instability have gradually worsened in the whole North Kivu and particularly in Goma since May 2012. In this period a new rebel group has been formed, the M23, that, from May to October 2012, has attacked different zones of North Kivu (Rutshuru, Masisi and Nyiragongo), causing the displacement of thousands of people. The conflict has deepened at the end of October 2012 and the rebels have managed to overcome the Congolese Army (FARDC) and the MONUSCO (UN Peacekeeping Force to DRC), while arriving at striking distance to Goma (8Km.) on November, the 16th; two days after, they invaded the city. The effects on the civilians have been terrible: thousands of people fled from their villages and from Kanyaruchinya (North Goma) camp toward the city. Between November, 17th and 18th, over 3.000 family groups (around 11-12.000 people, among them 6.000 children), villagers and IDPs, found refuge within the walls of the DBNG.
During the escape, these people lost everything they had: house, food and essentials. Those who arrived at the DBNG were in deplorable physical and psychological conditions; the Center through VIS volunteers and local staff has supplied these 3.000 families with accommodation, water, food and medical assistance, coordinating the interventions of different IDPs-focused organizations. The first intervention in this phase was of course to create room to allow people to sleep and to be safe from the conflict.
From the very beginning, VIS and DBNG created three taskforces: Coordination, Logistics and WASH. The hygiene procedures immediately entered into force to avoid the spreading of diseases: clean water for the IDPs, use of chlorine, constant cleaning of WCs and showers, round the clock opening of DBNG's Health Center to face the different cases.
In this phase, VIS and DBNG networked with many other institutions to support the spontaneous camp with and holistic and integrated approach, that has been realized through:
- Accommodation activities: temporary hangars, waterproof tarps and wood;
- Food distribution for 18 days, for around 11.000 people;
- Actions in WASH domain (water, sanitations and hygiene): temporary latrines and showers including the whole sanitation and hydric system and waste management have been set up; hygiene materials have been distributed and people have been sensitized on its use; constant supply of clean water (chlorine included);
- Actions in the field of Health: a doctor and 4 nurses have been contracted to support DBNG Health Centre's staff, to monitor and follow the cases; a small program for malnourished children has been set up and a professional prevention program against a cholera epidemics has been realized through the creation of a separated safe zone, where the people have been cured.
- Distribution of kit for the reinsertion or the displacement into official camps: all the needy families have received a "reinsertion kit" (food, drugs, soaps, tarps, tanks, covers and milk). After the end of the conflict in the city, VIS and DBNG, in collaboration with UN Agencies (UNHCR, OCHA), have implemented a program aimed at accompanying the IDPs whether to their places of origin or to official UNHCR-managed camps.
Anyway, from January 2013 onwards, the second emergency phase has been managed by VIS and DBNG. The Centre has resumed its normal activities but, as a consequence of the conflict and of the internal displacement in the November/December crisis, the number of children, adolescents and youth in DBNG's services has seen a very significant raise, almost 25 to 35% more than the 500+ that the Centre serves every day. This has caused a meaningful supplementary workload for DBNG staff in the Social Sector. In the detail:
Maison Ushindi (service for abandoned children and baby orphans): the raise in the number of the beneficiaries has caused a substantial increase in milk consumption and of educational staff; moreover, since many of the children were under- or malnourished, some complementary food (milk + maize flour) has been needed;
Maison Bakanja and Kizito: the number of ENA (Enfants non accompagnés - Unaccompanied minor), following the escape and emergency phase, is considerably raised (especially, child girls and 6-9 years old children). The tracing activities have been organized and a program of family visits on the field has been put into effect.
Center for Malnourished children: there has been a huge increase in the number of children with nutritional problems coming both from Goma (especially from the northern outskirts of the city) and from spontaneous and official camps, for which DBNG is always a reference point for this kind of intervention.
· Maison Margherita (service for girl-mothers, girls formerly associated to military groups and/or victims of sexual violence): in this context, Maison Margherita has received many cases of girls needing protection from danger and special care after having been raped, and has coped with all the needs of these girls.
The results obtained in the program execution may be summarized as follows:
- at least 11.000 IDPs have been supported through food distribution, have been supplied with basic medicines and with preventive measures to avoid epidemics in DBNG's spontaneous camps;
- around 10.000 IDPs have been supported through a "First aid Kit" for the return to their homes or for the displacement to UN-led official camps;
- around 650 vulnerable children, adolescents and youth have been taken in charge and taken care of during the first and second emergency phase from December 2012 to March 2013.