As the COVID-19 pandemic has struck, intense violent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also escalated in recent months. Due to COVID restrictions, getting essential items to communities is incredibly challenging. With Irish Aid support to Trócaire, emergency relief supplies are now being flown to DRC to reach thousands displaced by the recent fighting.
Over five million people have had to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict in DRC. In recent months, intense fighting and extreme violence in Ituri province in the North East of DRC has resulted in over 200,000 people becoming displaced.
The UN reports that civilians have been killed, houses have been set on fire and women have been raped. More than 1.2 million displaced people in Ituri live in camps or stay within host communities in towns and villages.
At the same time, COVID-19 has hit DRC in recent months. There have been over 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 140 deaths, with the actual number likely to be higher due to lack of testing.
Government imposed COVID restrictions have made it incredibly challenging to get much-needed humanitarian supplies into Ituri province. For this reason, Irish Aid have supplied emergency humanitarian supplies to Trócaire in order to respond quickly to the humanitarian needs of displaced people.
The supplies include thousands of fleece blankets, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and solar LED lamps, as well as family-sized tents and tarpaulins. These will reach 1,500 families who have been displaced in conflict affected areas of Ituri province. The supplies will be distributed to the most vulnerable families, with 80% being female headed households.
On behalf of Irish Aid, in Uganda, Irish Ambassador William Carlos handed over the 40 tonne shipment to Trócaire Uganda Country Director Ian Dolan on Saturday 27th June and the supplies are now in transit to the DRC.
“Ireland is delighted to support Trócaire’s efforts to get much-needed supplies to DRC at this difficult time” said Ambassador Carlos. “COVID-19 has exacerbated the serious issues already affecting the people of Ituri, and I am glad that Trócaire can provide some assistance despite the current challenges.”
"The generosity of the Irish people is legendary" said Ian Dolan. "This support from the Irish government through Irish Aid will now enable us to reach thousands of people in DRC. These are people who have left their homes behind as they have fled horrific violence.
"Receiving simple items like a tent, a blanket, and a solar lamp can mean the world to people who have left behind everything as they fled fighting. Hygiene items are particularly essential as people try to protect themselves from COVID-19.
"As Irish people face an unprecedented crisis at home, it means so much that we still are supporting those overseas who have far less than we do. This solidarity and compassion is remarkable.”
Later this week, Saah Nyambe Lebreton, Trócaire Country Director for DRC, will receive the kits together with representatives from the local Ituri government when they arrive within the DRC. The supplies will be distributed to communities in the coming weeks.
You can donate online or by phoning:
1850 408 408 (Republic of Ireland)
0800 912 1200 (Northern Ireland).