updates from goma
Here's word from the folks at Heal Africa. Dr. Jo and Lyn Lusi are featured by the BBC today. Joseph Ciza, mentioned below, is a good friend and contact who more-or-less saved my research project when I wasn't sure what to do. He is fearless and will go anywhere to talk to anyone about ending the rape epidemic. Please keep him, his family, and his safety in your thoughts and prayers.
"We just spoke on the phone with Dr. Jo Lusi. He's on the way to the airport, to receive the ministers for foreign affairs from France and UK. They will spend two hours in Goma with him.
"The HEAL Africa hospital continues to treat the wounded. About 50 badly wounded remain in the hospital. Over 100 have been treated and released to go home. Joseph Ciza is working with people and organisations who have identified victims of rape, and they are being treated as well. There was an offer of a planeload of supplies, but because of the situation (who is in control of the airport, will trucks be able to be found to transport supplies, etc.) we have asked that financial donations be the way to respond, so that the hospital can purchase what is needed.
"...Thank you for your prayers for the staff, who are working around the clock. All of the mobile teams have been in contact, and are safe. We thank God for his presence with the people of Congo at this time. It seems that the international community is taking the situation seriously and are working at many levels to make a different future possible for the people of Congo, who desperately need peace."
Here is an update from Lyn from Friday:
"Today was a strange mixture of reality and unreality in Goma. The threat of violent catastrophe is very close – just 10 kilometers north of the town, where Nkunda is waiting out the results of negotiations. If he doesn’t like what is offered, he will probably advance before the French have time to send in the troops they have promised. We are grateful for the UN troops, because they are standing firm despite being so few and facing off heavy odds.
"...The children who were repaired yesterday are stable today. Please continue to pray for their mother, so traumatized.
"...Behind the Nkunda lines, from Kibati up to Rutshuru, his troops have broken up the displaced people’s camps and scattered the people, and burned the installations. People are fleeing once again."
"So much now depends on the outcome of the negotiations, in UN, in Eu and the African Union. Please pray for wisdom for the negotiators. The stakes are not the concerns of one rebel warlord. They cover the whole region, and they affect the interests of faceless big business around the world."
- The situation of the displaced is absolutely horrific. Most have not had food, water, or shelter for 3-5 days.
- The rebels are forcibly emptying the camps for IDP's and telling them to go home. Then they're burning the camps so they're unusable.
- PLEASE watch this video so you can understand. I am in tears as I type this. Share it with your friends, put it on your blog. People need to know that this is happening in our world.
- The French and British foreign ministers were in Goma today, with plans to be in Kigali by tonight. British foreign minister Mark Malloch Brown says that sending in EU troops is a possibility if the ceasefire fails. I hope that they were shocked and horrified by the things they saw. A trip to the hospital should have accomplished that. Maybe they'll be motivated to really do something, rather than standing by yet again and allowing the people of the Congo to continue suffering and dying.
In a couple of days, I'll be posting on a practical effort you can be part of to help change the situation in the Congo in a lasting way. Please check back then.