Assignment for Oxfam Novib
In 2011 heavy rainfall in the Sange area in South-Kivu swept away many houses and destroyed the crops. A humanitarian disaster took place in a climate of insecurity, conflict and poverty. Oxfam ’s local partner organization PADEBU (Programme d'Action pour le Développement des Bases Unies) was one of the organisations responding providing relief to the people in need. "There were many people in immediate humanitarian need. It was too much for us as an organization to handle by ourselves. Therefore we coordinated with other organizations to help as many households as possible. We provided building materials for people to rebuild their homes and we distributed agricultural kits containing seeds," explains Moise Munana of PADEBU.
With the help of Oxfam the irrigation canal in the affected area was restored to enable the inhabitants to resume their farming activities. PADEBU also supported the community to manage the maintenance of the canal which included payment of an annual contribution. But the canal is in decline. Most farmers are unable to pay the maintenance contribution as a consequence of a new disaster that has emerged. A virus, by the villagers called "Ebola", affects the crops causing crop failure with an acute food shortages as a result.
Four years after the heavy rainfall Rosa Ngoyiera still lives in poverty with her children. She is grateful that with the help of PADEBU she has been able to build a new home. But she is no longer able to farm the land and grow cassava. The virus has affected everything. "Now I have no income. My husband passed away and I have no money to send my children to school. We cook the cassava leaves but often we go to bed hungry. Some people around here try to earn some money by cutting down trees to make charcoal. But even the trees have been affected by the virus."
For Mariam Sekaya the situation in the area is dire. She is old, fragile and hungry. She lives from one day to another. On top of that she has to take care of her disabled daughter. "We largely depend on farmers in the area to give us cassava leaves to cook. Fortunately, I have a few goats that I can sell to pay my hospital bills."