Great concern about the situation in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo

Abrao Mushivi, LWF Country Representative in Angola. Photo: LWF/Rainer Lang

While Dr Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo was delivering his keynote speech to the Twelfth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in the Namibian capital of Windhoek, there was new fighting in his home country. Mukwege had just appealed to the Lutherans gathered from all over the world from May 10 to 16 to help raped women in the eastern part of Congo, and at the same time there was a big influx of refugees into Angola, a neighboring country of Namibia.

Abrao Mushivi, LWF Country Representative in Angola, who attended the Assembly showed great concern about the situation. From mid-April to mid-May, the number of refugees had doubled to more than twenty thousand people, of which seventy-five percent were women and children. “Among them is quite a number of unaccompanied minors,” Mushivi said, adding, “There is a lack of support for rape victims.”

The refugees do not have shelter, enough food or proper sanitation.
Abrao Mushivi, LWF Country Representative in Angola

People are fleeing from fighting between government forces and militia groups in Kasai province in Congo bordering Angola. The response of UNHCR to the crisis is not sufficient, as the organization was not prepared for distributions at such a large scale. “The refugees do not have shelter, enough food or proper sanitation,” says Mushivi. He is also concerned about the issue of child rights. A kidnapped minor had been reported. He insists, “Unaccompanied minors have to be protected.”

The LWF has sent a rapid assessment team to the field. The ACT national forum sent a delegation to talk to the government to allow the refugees to relocate to a site where international standards can be met. “We are trying by all means, together with other ACT members like Christian Aid and Norwegian Church Aid, for a joint comprehensive approach,” Mushivi reports. He points out that “the needs increase each day with the ongoing influx of between three hundred to four hundred arrivals per day.”

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