Distributing food to overwhelmed camps

DR Congo

December 3, 2012

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mercy Corps  </span>
    One of the many sprawling settlements on the outskirts of Goma where food supplies rapidly dwindled — and the population more than doubled — after M23 rebels captured eastern Congo's largest city two weeks ago. Photo: Mercy Corps
  <span class="field-credit">
    Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mercy Corps was able to quickly distribute existing food stocks to feed 11,000 families for the next two weeks. Photo: Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps has distributed food to more than 11,000 families who were displaced after Goma was captured by M23 rebels two weeks ago.

Food shortages set in shortly after fighting reached eastern Congo's largest city, shutting down banks and stores. Distributions to displacement camps on the outskirts of the city were also disrupted, leaving those uprooted by this and previous conflicts with dwindling supplies of food, water and other necessities.

Our teams quickly rerouted existing food stocks to camps swelling with newly displaced families. We've also provided additional temporary shelter for 3,000 orphans at a local children's center and are addressing urgent needs for clean water and sanitation facilities in camps where the risk of cholera is high.

READ MORE: Supplying water to the newly displaced

The emergency rations of flour, oil and fortified grains will feed families for the next 15 days. At the same time, we're preparing to help families resume their livelihoods when they are able to return to their homes. For the next several months, we'll expand our Food for Work program to provide longer-term provisions until the next planting season.

We're also exploring ways to help families replace basic necessities and productive assets like farming tools, which have been lost to looting during the occupation.

According to the U.N., at least 130,000 people are currently displaced in and around Goma; emergency needs for food and water will persist as the volatile situation continues to disrupt the city's governance and infrastructure.