Forced From Their Homes: Water & Sanitation Assistance for Congolese Refugees

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has long had a presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Community of Disciples of Christ in Congo was founded in 1899, and has witnessed faithfully over the decades. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada celebrates our kinship with the Disciples in the DRC and joins them in prayer for Congolese citizens displaced by violence.

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WASH station.  Photo by Abrao

They seem like such simple things: a peaceful night's sleep that isn't interrupted by gunfire, knowing that your home today will most likely be your home tomorrow, getting up in the middle of the night and walking a few steps to get a glass of water that is safe and not potentially disease-ridden, making use of safe and hygienic sanitation facilities.

But many of our brothers and sisters in central Africa have no such luxuries.  Over the last two years, a violent conflict between militias and government forces in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has displaced 1.4 million people, upwards of 25,000 of whom have fled to a refugee camp and the surrounding villages in Lovua in neighboring Angola. These numbers have seriously strained the water, sanitation, and health infrastructure, again threatening the inhabitants who have already lost so much. Our partner, ACT Alliance, staff member Abraham Mushivi notes: "The refugees do not have shelter, enough food or proper sanitation. All are in urgent need of protection, medical and psychosocial assistance, shelter, food and basic relief items. Many of those who have fled report harassment, violence and killing," including burning houses, rape, and recruiting children into armed forces or using them as human shields.   

Week of Compassion partners are on the ground to assist: supplying villages with "WASH stations" (consisting of adequate and safe drinking water and sanitary hygiene facilities) to the benefit of almost 10,000 persons.  This helps keep illness at bay, allowing children to go to school and families to begin "backyard farming" to improve their nutrition. Safe water and hygienic sanitation seem like such simple things, but they are key priorities to begin to help those who have been driven from house and homeland.

Your generous gifts allow this work to continue.

Week of Compassion is closely monitoring Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Olivia as they threaten, respectively, the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast and the Hawaiian islands. For the latest information on the storms and how you can help, follow Week of Compassion's Facebook page. This week and next also mark the one-year anniversaries of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. As we respond to the immediate needs of current storms, we continue to support the long-term recovery of communities affected last fall. We pray for God's peace to fill these anxious days.

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