Kinshasa (Fides Service) – A humanitarian river convoy carrying persons displaced by war to be re-united with families has safely arrived at its destination Bena-Dibele. The convoy, organised by Caritas Congo, left Kinshasa on 4 April. It took over a month to reach its destination because war zones had to be avoided.
Bena-Dibele is situated in Kasai in central west Congo and because of fighting in this locality thousands fled and many people were separated from their families. Now, thanks to this initiative of the Church in Congo the families have been re-united.
The convoy carried 800 people assisted by two doctors, 4 nurses and a chaplain. During the voyage medical staff helped deliver two babies, a boy and a girl, and they performed 9 surgical operations. The high number of operations can be explained by the fact that many of the travellers needed surgery but could not afford hospital treatment. This was a good opportunity to receive free medical care.
Bishop Nicholas Djomo of Tshumbe diocese where Bena-Dibele is situated, said: “When the boat docked at Bena-Dibele, crowds gathered to welcome the returnees who were overjoyed at the sight of their home town and burst into song and dance and tears of joy” .
The convoy was also a sign of cooperation and solidarity between local Churches and international aid programmes. It was organised with the help of Caritas offices in Germany, Australia, Spain, United States, France and Holland, and also the United Nations World Food Programme and UNICEF. LM (Fides Service 21/5/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 315)