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Democratic Republic of the Congo: disaster relief in Sange

08-11-2011 News Release 11/230

Bukavu (ICRC) – The torrential rains that recently hit South Kivu caused a surge of water in Sange, a village in the Ruzizi Plain, destroying over a thousand houses and leaving many people destitute and without shelter. A large number of victims were urgently taken in by host families.

To meet the most pressing needs, the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), distributed such essentials as clothing, kitchen utensils, hygiene items, hoes, blankets, sleeping mats, buckets and tarpaulins to 1,080 families between 30 October and 5 November. The aid should enable people to rapidly fend for themselves again.

"Last year, it was a fire in Sange. This year, it's a flood," said Ruhanika Daniel, the village chief. "As in 2010, the Congolese Red Cross and the ICRC quickly brought aid to the victims. The entire population was relieved." This latest disaster, in which five people lost their lives, was a further blow to a community already made fragile by armed conflict in the area.

This aid distribution follows one carried out in Bukavu on 19 October by the Congolese Red Cross, with ICRC support, for 59 families displaced by a fire. Five children perished and over 50 houses were destroyed in the blaze.

The Congolese Red Cross is an auxiliary to the public authorities in the humanitarian field. It takes action in times of peace and of armed conflict to help communities and needy people, particularly when fires or natural disasters occur. The ICRC, which has been working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1978, protects and assists victims of armed conflict and other violence.

For further information, please contact:
Krista Armstrong, ICRC Goma/Bukavu, tel: +243 81 700 77 86
Desiré Yuma, Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo South Kivu,
tel: + 243 81 314 91 80