Please read below a report by the head of the Baptist Church in Central Africa, Dr. Samuel Ngayihembako, on the situation in the provinces of North and South Kivu
"We in the CBCA are grateful to God that the church has so far been largely spared from the Corona crisis. Our thanks also go to partners such as UEM for their financial support during the crisis," writes CBCA Church Director Dr. Samuel Nagayihembako. "With the help of its partners and by the grace of God, the CBCA has carried out various activities to combat COVID-19.
At the beginning of the year in some areas of the Kivu there were "only" the usual rebels and militia groups as a disruptive factor to church activities. With the appearance of COVID-19 in March, however, much changed. At first, church services were celebrated only in families and small groups. Today the churches offer several services to avoid large gatherings of people.
So far, the population's expectations of political structures have not been met. Despite activities in the area of human rights work, insecurity and murders have not yet come to an end in various parts of the province. In the city of Beni in particular, suspected NALU soldiers* are murdering countless people, causing massive displacements and paralyzing all activities from time to time. A few weeks ago, 1,300 inmates broke out of prison in Beni. Theft and murder throughout the Kivu area were the result.
Corona restrictions have increased the unemployment rate, for example among people whose livelihood depends on travel. In addition, the inflation of the Congolese franc is currently a general problem in the country. And above all the illegal exploitation of domestic resources by companies in neighboring countries and multinational corporations in the Kivu region. The militias steal and destroy the harvest of the rural population. The consequences: Food in the cities becomes scarce and people move from the countryside to the cities.
Most people generally do not take preventive measures. The corona pandemic exacerbates this situation, especially for the sick and elderly. Most sick people do not go to hospital because they are afraid of being tested positive for the corona virus and subsequently being given supposedly lethal medication. But health workers and professionals are trying to counteract this misinformation.
The Kivu has the second highest COVID-19 infection rate after the capital Kinshasa, with a declining trend. In the entire Democratic Republic of Congo, the figures are currently as follows: 11,066 recorded cases of illness, 303 deaths, 10,362 recoveries.
Insecurity and poverty in the Kivu have been aggravated by the COVID-19 virus, which immediately followed the Ebola virus. The church mourns the loss of a number of members, including some pastors, church elders and two businessmen in the trading town of Butembo."
* The Islamist rebel group Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-Nalu)-fights from the east of the Congo against the government in their home country. (Editor's note)
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