Congo river supply line vital as The Salvation Army aids refugees
The Salvation Army is providing practical, emotional and spiritual support to people migrating from the Maï-Ndombe region of the Democratic Republic of Congo into neighboring Republic of Congo. The refugees are fleeing the conflict between different ethnic groups that began in December 2018. Scores of people have died and around 7,000 people—including unaccompanied children, whose parents have been killed—have crossed the River Congo into the border settlements of Bétou and Makotipoko.
Along with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Republic of Congo’s Ministries of the Interior and Humanitarian Action, The Salvation Army is working with village elders, local government officials and other non-governmental agencies. The initial priority is to provide emergency food, bedding and disease protection to 660 of the most vulnerable refugees. This figure includes pregnant and nursing women, disabled people, widows and orphaned children.
Due to a lack of suitable accommodation, displaced families are currently sleeping in churches, schools, markets and public buildings, or staying with host families. The Salvation Army is distributing mosquito nets to guard against malaria and similar insect-borne diseases, along with foam mattresses, blankets and clothing items.
For nutrition, The Salvation Army is providing rice, salted fish, beans and cooking oil, as well as packed meals. To help with hygiene, it is distributing soap and buckets.
The Salvation Army has a pre-existing presence in this area, but because of the remote geography of the settlements, the supply route has involved a lengthy boat transit along the river that defines the border between the two countries. UNHCR provided a speedboat to assist with the delivery and distribution of relief items.
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IHQ Communications, International Headquarters