DRC: Seeking Shelter from the Violence in Ituri

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO 2018 © John Wessels
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More than 100,000 people have been forced from their homes in Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as a result of violence involving the Lendu and Hema communities. Since the resurgence of violence in Ituri began in December 2017 and intensified in February, many people have fled to other parts of DRC, north towards Mahagi, or south towards Bunia, while tens of thousands of others have crossed Lake Albert seeking safety in Uganda. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are working in both DRC and Uganda to help people displaced by the attacks.

In DRC, many people are living on informal camp sites or with host families, or sheltering in churches and schools. Some have been surviving in these conditions for over a month now and there is a very real risk that their health could soon start to deteriorate, resulting in cases of severe malnutrition, or a measles or cholera epidemic.

An 11-year-old girl recovers at a hospital in Bunia. During an attack on her village, she lost her mother, three of her siblings, and her left hand.
John Wessels/MSF
A displaced Congolese woman cooks food in an MSF-supported camp in Bunia, DRC. MSF is helping with the distribution of flour, rice, and other basic food staples.
John Wessels/MSF
Men build huts for shelter inside a displaced persons' camp in Bunia.
John Wessels/MSF
A woman carries a bag with donated items on her head. MSF has distributed items such as blankets and soap to people living in the camps.
John Wessels/MSF
Displaced people wait for medical consultations at the MSF-supported Bigo health clinic in Bunia. MSF also offers mental health services for those traumatized by the violence they’ve experienced or witnessed.
John Wessels/MSF
A 31-year-old woman sits with her newborn as she recovers from an emergency Caesarean section at the MSF-supported hospital in Bunia. She'd fled while nine months pregnant from her village after hearing about a pending attack.
John Wessels/MSF
This displaced woman and child are living inside a church in Telega, Ituri Province, DRC.
John Wessels/MSF
An MSF nurse tends to patients in a cholera treatment center near the shoreline of Lake Albert in DRC, where many people are taking refuge.
John Wessels/MSF
Congolese people get into boats that will take them across the border to safety in Uganda.
John Wessels/MSF