As violent clashes continue in the Democratic Republic of Congo despite attempts to enforce an official ceasefire, CMS Ireland is calling on the church here to act.
Within a week of the conflict beginning CMS Ireland had committed £3,000 to assist its partners in Bukavu diocese and is now urging the church in Ireland to get behind the relief effort.
"The current situation in eastern DR Congo is dire," said Alan Dunn, a Belfast-based volunteer working on behalf of the all Ireland charity.
"Hundreds of people have already been killed as rebel forces clash with government troops and thousands of others have been forced to flee their homes in order to escape the fighting. The £3,000 that we have already sent is being used to help refugees in and around the provincial town of Goma get access to food, shelter and clothing. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will respond, as fully as possible, to the specific requests of our partners.”
Mr Dunn went on: "In the face of such a humanitarian crisis we recognise that our contribution is, in many ways, a drop in the ocean. But because we are working through partnerships that have been in place for more than 20 years we also know that that drop will go a long way.”
In recent years CMSI has worked with partners to support ongoing development work as well as emergency relief efforts following a series of natural disasters. In addition the charity has a track record of effectively supporting humanitarian relief amongst refugees in the east of the country.
“By working through local church structures we can be confident that the money will get directly to where it is most needed, quickly," said Mr Dunn.
Ian Smith, CMS Ireland Director of Mission, stated: "We need the church in Ireland to stand shoulder to shoulder with the church in DR Congo – opposing violence and injustice and helping to make simple practical differences to some of world's poorest and most vulnerable people. We would urge Christians here to commit to pray for the situation and to join with us in practical support."
Anyone wanting to make a donation to CMS Ireland’s work in DR Congo can do so through either of the organisations offices or by visiting www.cmsireland.org.