Update From Goma: How You Can Help

Dear Friends,

This morning, I spoke with several of our people in Goma about the current situation there and am writing to keep you informed and make you aware that your help is greatly needed.

While Goma remains safe with UN troops patrolling the streets and city perimeter, the situation in the surrounding countryside is not. Dr. Jo Lusi says, “We have many sick people in the hospital.” UN (MONUSCO) tanks are stationed on the outskirts of the city, facing off the M23 rebels to the north of Goma.

A HEAL Africa mobile team went out to the area around Nyamilima last week and was held up, robbed, and detained by a coalition of FDLR and MayiMayi. The internally displaced people are facing especially difficult circumstances, with their numbers approaching a half million.  The NGOs have no emergency supplies, and aren’t permitted to travel on the roads, due to the many roadblocks.

We have been asked to send funds for emergency kits (jerry cans for water, tarps for shelter, etc.), medical costs for displaced patients, and other assistance for people still in rural areas where there is fighting.  Emergency relief funds will enable HEAL Africa’s staff to buy locally and distribute quickly and efficiently as needed.

Our training staff is restricted to Goma at the moment, but the people they’ve been working with — HIV, Gender & Justice, Safe Motherhood, Nehemiah Committees, Wamama Simameni counselors, teachers and other staff — are either in their villages or dispersed with other internally displaced people. They will be sharing what they’ve learned with others there. They are eager to return home and continue to work for peace.

Here’s how you can help:

1. HEAL Africa Congo urgently needs your supplemental financial support for shelter, food, water, support for those who have been wounded, raped, or are sick as a result of the war.  Whether it’s $5, $50 or $500, every bit makes a difference in emergency situations like this one. Click here to give, and include “emergency fund” in the memo line.

2. Please call or email your legislative representatives and ask them about a foreign relations plan for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Congo. This is a diplomatic issue that is not going to be resolved militarily.

3. If you are a person of prayer, we ask that you pray for wise leadership at every level of organization in Congo, from local villages to the presidential palace.  Also, kindly pray for HEAL Africa’s leadership — Dr. Lusi, the doctors providing care for patients, the program staff who work with local village leaders, nurses, traditional midwives and doctors in rural clinics, and faith leaders.

Many thanks for your concern and help for the people of Congo in this time of great and urgent need.

Baraka na Amani iwe nawe. (“Blessing and peace to you” in Swahili.)

Judy Anderson

Executive Director