Church assisting amid conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo

A bishop in the Democratic Republic of Congo has launched an appeal to support thousands of people forced from their homes by conflict.

Bishop Bahati Bali-Busane Sylvestre, of the Anglican Diocese of Bukavu, is asking for prayer and financial support in order to assist the internally displaced people who are arriving to his diocese.

Armed groups are fighting in various regions in the DRC, including North and South Kivu, and along the border with South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Bishop Sylvestre said the people coming into the Bukavu area are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

"The Diocese of Bukavu, recognising the holistic mission of the Church, is humbly requesting prayers and any kind of support so that the vulnerable victims can get relief through the Church," he said.

Anglican Alliance, which is supporting the appeal, said the conflicts are taking a "devastating" toll on the civilian population, particularly women and children.

There are reports of massacres, rape, mutilations and attacks on aid workers.

The development group said the volatile situation had been compounded by a "lack of attention" from the international community.

It also voiced concern over food shortages and the risk of cholera and measles outbreaks.

Donations to Bishop Sylvestre's appeal will go towards supporting more than 500 displaced families with food and other basic necessities.

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