- The Catholic relief organisation Caritas has appealed for US$ 4 million injection to avert the worsening humanitarian crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where thousands are said to be homeless as a result of war.
In October, a US$ 1.5 million appeal was launched to help an initial 90,000 people in Congo, but since then many more have fled their homes because of worsening violence, caritas has said.
"People are still running through the forests and mountains. Kivu is very high up so it is cold, but they leave their houses without clothes, food or anything else," Dr Bruno Miteyo, Secretary General of Caritas Congo said.
Accroding to catholic organisation, Congolese bishops termed the situation in eastern Congo as a silent genocide, saying mass killings have been reported in villages, rape cases are on the rise and there are concerns over induction of children into rebel ranks.
Fresh bloody battles in DRC have attracted attention of international community in recent weeks with humanitarian crisis said to be going from bad to worse. It is estimated that 250,000 civilians have been directly affected by most recent conflict, particularly in Rutshuru.
Dr Miteyo said providing humanitarian assistance remains a big challenge as clashes cut people from aid agencies.
"Right now vulnerable people such as children, older people and pregnant women are dying because they are not receiving assistance," he said, emphasising that children between ages of 8 and 14 are also at risk of being forced by rebels to become child soldiers.
Conflict in eatern DRC has also brought renewed tension between Kinshasa and neighbouring Kigali with accusations flying on Rwanda's support of rebels, a charge dismissed by Rwandan officials as a fabrication.
Congolese renegade General Laurent Nkuda who defected from the army in 2004, claims Congolese government has not protected ethnic Tutsis from Rwandan Hutu militia that escaped to Congo after helping slaughter a half-million Rwandan Tutsis.
He said he is fighting to liberate all of Congo from a corrupt government. He went on the offensive on 28 August.
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