Bishop calls attention to humanitarian crisis in Congo

By Anglican Journal staff
Posted Sep 21, 2012

[Anglican Journal] An Anglican bishop from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is urging the world to focus its attention to the “neglected” humanitarian crisis in northeastern Congo, where nearly half a million people have been displaced by armed conflict.

Bishop Bahati Bali-Busane Sylvestre, of the Diocese of Bukavu, recently visited refugees from North Kivu and described their situation as “pitiful.” Thousands of refugees have sought temporary shelter at a refugee camp and in Anglican schools and church buildings.

Sylvestre called for prayers for the refugees, who were forced to flee their homes to escape killing, rape, looting and the recruitment of children as soldiers.

For now, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is “monitoring the situation and discerning any additional response,” said Simon Chambers, communications coordinator.

PWRDF has been involved in human rights and peace work in the DRC through Kairos, the Canadian peace and justice advocacy group.

Earlier this month, a delegation of religious leaders from the DRC visited Canada and the U.S. to raise awareness about the war between the DRC and Rwanda.  Militiamen, allegedly backed by Rwanda, have clashed with DRC troops, they reported.

Sylvestre and his staff showed photographs of the dire conditions under which people are living. The photos have been sent to the Anglican Alliance, which coordinates the global development, relief and advocacy work of members of the Anglican Communion.

Last July, Anglican Alliance launched an appeal on behalf of the diocese of Bukavu, which is assisting 517 families, including 702 children and 89 pregnant women or new mothers.

With files from Anglican Communion News Service.