"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


congo watch

"Internally-displaced person" is the technical term for a person who's fled his or her home, but who has not crossed an international border and is thus not a refugee. IDP's often have it worse than refugees; the UN High Commissioner for Refugees doesn't exist to help them.

Between the IDP's and the refugees, 375,000 people have had to leave their homes behind in North Kivu this year.

I want you to imagine what it would be like if 375,000 people had to flee their homes in Tennessee or Sussex or Lyon or whatever corner of this world in which you find yourself. Here in the states, we don't really have to imagine what that's like, do we? One effect of Hurricane Katrina is that Louisiana's population declined by more than 200,000. Unlike here, though, in North Kivu there is very little existing infrastructure that's equipped to deal with such a massive influx of people. Unlike in America, there aren't other cities that can absorb the population. There aren't jobs.

The bulk of the camps in North Kivu at the moment are at Mugunga, which is a place just to the west of Goma. I have been there. Yesterday morning, people living in the camps heard fighting in the hills. Between 28,000 and 30,000 of them fled again, towards Goma.

Things are not improving in North Kivu. They are getting much, much worse. It's raining. There's a cholera outbreak in the Mugunga camps. They're trying, but it's never enough. And despite an agreement between the governments of the DR Congo and Rwanda to root out the FDLR (a Hutu extremist-run militia), I don't see things improving anytime soon.


Blogger euphrony said...

I read about the fighting and flight from Mugunga yesterday.

I also read of the mass exodus of Mogadishu, and the IDP’s there. Apparently, World Vision is not in Mogadishu but is in other parts of Somalia and expects to be trying to help a lot more people very soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:53:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Yes, Somalia's getting bad, too. It's even more difficult there; from what I understand, it's nearly impossible for most humanitarian groups to work in Mog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 1:22:00 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home