Food for the Hungry Staff Continue Relief Efforts as War Escalates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Food for the Hungry
Wednesday, 20 March 2002

Three Food for the Hungry staff workers were safely evacuated Saturday from work zones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after being trapped four days between warring Mai Mai and opposition troops.

On Tuesday, March 12, Mai Mai troops engaged in armed conflict with Interhamwe and other opposition forces in the Mwenga territory of the South Kivu Province in an attempt to take control of Kamituga, a small town 30 miles east of Mwenga.

At the time, Food for the Hungry was finishing a distribution of seeds, tools and non-food relief items to recent returnees in the nearby towns of Kasika and Mwenga who had fled their homes because of the war. Three Congolese staff became trapped as the war escalated around them.

Food for the Hungry's office in Bukavu attempted to arrange helicopter evacuation immediately, but on two separate occasions, the Rwandan military blocked the flights. The three staff members were finally evacuated Saturday, March 16, by a privately contracted helicopter.

Because of the heroic efforts of our staff, Food for the Hungry completed the distributions to 5,000 needy families in the area. Congo Program Director Michael Satin reports that the majority of Food for the Hungry's work is now concentrated in the Katanga Province which has remained very secure and stable.

Food for the Hungry was founded in 1971 and helps some of the world's most needy people in 30 countries through child development programs, agriculture and clean water projects, health and nutrition programs, education, microenterprise loans, and disaster relief.

For more information, or to make a donation, call Food for the Hungry at 1-800-2-HUNGER or visit our Web site.

For more information, or to contact Food for the Hungry, see their website at: www.fh.org

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