Disaster in the Congo (DRC): Church of God Mobilizes Relief amid Humanitarian Crisis
By Carl Stagner
This October, a humanitarian crisis persisting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took a dramatic turn for the worse. Accompanied by widespread violence and disruption of vital infrastructure, a ten-year hiatus among rebel forces in the eastern part of the country came to end. As a result, the number of displaced persons this year alone has climbed to 700,000, exacerbating the shortage of emergency supplies. Though the Church of God in the Congo (DRC) is actively offering assistance to whomever it can, resources in the central African country are severely limited. Church of God Disaster Relief and Restoration has stepped up to help, but more is desperately needed.
Rev. Noel Barumwete serves as the national leader for the Church of God in the Congo (DRC). In a recent podcast interview for A World of Good, she celebrates her assignment as the first ordained female leader in the Church of God there. She also expresses gratitude for the ways the Church of God in the United States and Canada has come alongside them during past disasters, most notably the volcanic eruption of May 2021. With the recent escalation of violence, she’s advocated for renewed partnership to see tangible care extended to those most vulnerable.
More than a hundred Church of God congregations compose the Congo (DRC), and it’s more important than ever that the family of God surround each other and their neighbors with the love of God. Rev. Noel Barumwete and Rev. Komera Benjamin are working diligently to coordinate the effort. Supplying the gap left by shortages, Church of God Disaster Relief is helping to provide the Church of God there with posho, cooking oil, beans, blankets, rice, and sugar, among other staples. The initial effort seeks to assist 423 families directly but, in order to get these items to everyone in need, further partnership with donors in the United States and Canada is crucial.
Michaela (McCurdy) Urban, projects and disaster relief specialist for Church of God Ministries through Global Strategy, reflects on the declining situation in the Congo (DRC). “Our hearts are deeply troubled as we learn of the escalating conflict and the devastating impact that the violence is having on many people’s wellbeing throughout the DRC. We feel especially concerned for the vulnerable men, women, and children now displaced from their homes and communities and seeking refuge elsewhere. In the midst of these horrific circumstances, we also feel grateful for the Church’s presence and heart of compassion in the face of great need.”
Initial funds have been sent to the Church of God in the Congo (DRC), but additional dollars are needed to secure food, water, and other basic provisions. Church of God Ministries is only able to respond swiftly when disaster strikes because it maintains a disaster relief fund. In crises where an immediate response is critical for relief, Church of God Ministries advances funds in anticipation of a gracious outpouring of donations from churches and individuals. Disaster Relief contributions are utilized to bring relief to those affected by disasters worldwide.
Donate today, and learn more about the numerous efforts of Church of God Disaster Relief and Restoration, at https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief-and-restoration/.
Feature (top) photo: Displaced persons settle into camps and faces serious shortages of basic supplies in the Congo (DRC).