Movement Responds to Flooding Disaster in Rwanda, DRC
By Carl Stagner
Unrelenting rains drenching saturated ground across parts of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continued to make matters worse for the Central African countries at the beginning of May. Landslides, especially in the wettest regions, led to the tragic loss of hundreds of lives, some of whom worshiped with the Church of God. While hearts break for our sisters and brothers in these locations bearing the brunt of this flooding crisis, the Church of God is grateful for the readiness—made possible by generous donors—to respond rapidly and decisively when disaster strikes.
An estimated 50 Church of God families in Rwanda lost their homes in the deluge, finding themselves disheartened and displaced by the floodwaters. Church of God Disaster Relief responded with an initial $5,000 in relief funds to care for these families. Rwanda’s neighbor to the west, the DRC, suffered the loss of homes belonging to an estimated 255 Church of God families. In response to the disaster there, Disaster Relief disbursed an initial $15,000; these funds were released to help the Church of God purchase and transport tents, blankets, dishes, water jerrycans, and food. Additional support has been sent in the weeks following.
Rev. Charles Nsengiyumva serves as national leader for the Church of God in Rwanda. About the ongoing disaster he writes, “We finished distributing the support that you sent for the people who suffered from severe flooding and various landslides…. So, thank you very much for your good heart for the church in Rwanda. People who suffered were so many—it was not easy to distribute, [but] we tried our best so that everybody can get, the area suffered much, like they don’t have shelters, they eat now from [provisions offered by] the church.”
Rev. Noel Barumwete serves as national leader for the Church of God in the DRC. A sociopolitical humanitarian crisis has already plagued the region recently; this flooding has only exacerbated existing deplorable circumstances. She reflects on the “very sad” situation that continues to unfold in her part of the world. She tells of parents who died, leaving children orphaned in the crisis. ‘They are very traumatized,” she writes. “This heavy flooding came when parents [were] selling business at the market [and away from home].”
Tragic events such as these certainly call for a response, but such a response cannot happen without the partnership of individuals and churches across the United States and Canada. When recipients of Disaster Relief, like Rev. Charles Nsengiyumva, speak of cows and goats needed for milk, when he describes the joy families show when they receive donated corn, flour, rice and beans—these are the moments and expressions that confirm the personal touch and remarkable power of support for Church of God Disaster Relief.
As cleanup, rebuilding, and restoration continue in Rwanda and the DRC, basic supplies remain vital to the ongoing safety and health of Church of God families. May the Church of God in the United States and Canada continue to prayerfully and financially support these sisters and brothers in Christ!
To come alongside the Church of God in Rwanda and the DRC, donations can be made to Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief. 100 percent of your donation goes to assist our brothers and sister suffering from the catastrophic flooding, as well as other Church of God communities affected by disasters globally. Click here to read more: CGM Current Disaster Responses.
Feature (top) image: Recipients of Disaster Relief in the DRC.