Emergency aid for families in areas difficult to access
Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The people in the tribal regions of Walilake, Masisi, Rutshuru and Lubero in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are being severely impacted by ethnically motivated armed conflicts. The region is also very difficult to access, which makes it all but impossible to deliver emergency aid. HEKS/EPER is assisting people with road repairs and providing emergency aid that is benefiting some 230,000 people.
For decades now the people of North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been enduring armed conflicts associated mainly with illegal mining. The situation is being further compounded by ethnic tensions. The violence is forcing ever more families to flee their villages. It is difficult to alleviate the plight of these people, as the regions concerned are hard to reach. Delivering humanitarian aid is a major challenge. The condition of access roads is such that they are impassable. Transportation to these remote regions is therefore impossible. Yet their people are in urgent need of food as well as medical attention, access to drinking water and sanitary facilities. Children also urgently need to access educational institutions.
Local economy in ruins
The main factors behind the collapse of the local economy are the poor state of the major transport routes and the inability to market local produce. This situation has triggered a massive surge in crime, forced recruitment of children, young people and adults into armed groups, as well as forced labour and the illegal collection of taxes.
Facilitating aid transport
The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) of the European Union has now charged HEKS/EPER with opening up access to this region so that humanitarian aid can be delivered. The first step was repairing access roads. HEKS/EPER assisted the people who undertook the road repairs. The task was done in 10 days by 1,920 families for a wage of 25 US dollars. The road between Bambu and Katsiru as well as the Singa-Kashalira axis are also to be reopened. The plan is to engage 3,850 persons who will also receive 25 US dollars for 10 days of work.
Since early summer 2020 HEKS/EPER has been facilitating access for the people of North Kivu to basic services such as sanitary facilities, food, drinking water, protection, as well as schooling. The project is benefiting roughly 230,000 residents of the affected areas. Some 97,000 people are receiving cash under a financial support programme. The beneficiaries are mainly households that take in orphaned children or which consist of people with disabilities, elderly or chronically ill people, or households with very low incomes.
Securing livelihoods through sanitary facilities, access to drinking water and food
HEKS/EPER furthermore supports communities in building infrastructure for securing supplies of drinking water and improving hygiene and sanitary conditions. This takes the form chiefly of the building of toilets in areas with large numbers of displaced people. These activities all help to create jobs for the local people.
HEKS/EPER is also supporting the resumption of agricultural production by vulnerable population groups who have lost their seeds and equipment as a result of conflicts and repeated displacements. The goal is to provide safe and reliable means for securing livelihoods, thereby buttressing the resilience of target groups. Cultivation of the land as well as access to local markets are to be improved. This serves the local economy while laying the groundwork for peaceful coexistence.