North Kivu hosts one of the largest internally displaced persons (IDPs) of any province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Almost a million people abandoned their homes in 2010 due to insecurity caused by armed groups; some 70 percent have been taken in by relatives, but the remainder lives in official and unofficial camps.
Atrocities committed by armed groups in north and west central Masisi, as well as official military operations against the rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), in the border territory, Walikale, were the main causes of displacement in the area during 2010. Ongoing violent attacks – including theft, extortion and rape – mean the security situation today is still highly unstable, causing regular waves of forced displacement.
Even though the experience of forced displacement is extremely traumatic and wrought with difficulties, there are individuals whose lives in the camps are even more precarious. These vulnerable persons frequently include older persons, single parents with children under 12, women living alone, those with chronic illnesses, persons with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, and victims of sexual- and gender-based violence.
JRS field staff devotes special attention to approximately 250 extremely vulnerable displaced persons, mostly women, by paying frequent visits to the official and unofficial camps, offering them practical assistance, friendship and hope. The numbers of people living in the camps is in constant flux, making it very difficult to provide precise numbers of those assisted at any one time.
Funded by Spanish NGOs Alboan and Entreculturas, and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, this JRS intervention seeks to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable displaced persons living in Kilimani, Kalinga, Lushebere, Bihito and Bukombo official and Bonde, Kihuma and Kishondja unofficial camps.
Activities include the distribution of food, clothing and other essential items, such as tarpaulins, mattresses, soap and building materials. JRS also provides transportation to hospital for women in labour and for others who need emergency medical assistance.
Central to the field work of JRS is to identify of human rights abuses and raise these issues at regular meetings and other fora with NGOs and other humanitarian agencies participating in the UN Protection and Camp Coordination and Management clusters based in Masisi and Goma.
Great Lakes Africa
+257 78991302; +243 (0)821778696; +250 782000940
JRS Great Lakes Africa is one of 10 geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization sponsored by the Society of Jesus. The regional office coordinates the delivery of education, housing, psychosocial and recreational services, as well emergency assistance and support to become self-sufficient, to vulnerable refugee and other displaced populations in Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2009, nearly 60,000 forcibly displaced persons were assisted by JRS in the region.
Signs of peace in Democratic Republic of Congo
(Bujumbura, Burundi) February 5, 2013 – After months of bitter conflict, intercommunity tensions and dozens of dead in Masisi in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is an atmosphere of calm and a renewed sense of hope between local communities. The participation of teachers and students in a workshop on teaching methods is a concrete sign of this desire to start over.
Democratic Republic of Congo: new risks for internally displaced persons in North Kivu
Goma, 18 November 2011 – Village leaders in the eastern Congolese village of Mweso are trying to scare internally displaced persons (IDPs) into leaving camps as an attempt to expropriate land, according to JRS Great Lakes.
Democratic Republic of Congo: poor conditions in makeshift camps leave IDPs vulnerable
Masisi, 9 September 2011 – Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the seven unofficial camps in the Masisi district of North Kivu province in eastern Congo are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, according to the Jesuit Refugee Service.
Papua New Guinea
Democratic Republic of Congo
Katanga Province, DRC
United States of America
Central African Republic