KALONGE ( Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo) -- In late February, after a long trip on slippery dirt roads, the first trucks loaded with bags of maize meal arrived in Cifunzi, a remote village near Kalonge in the province of South Kivu. In this area, more than 50,000 people displaced by conflict and host families were waiting for this assistance .
Josiane, 45, welcomed the World Food Programme trucks with shouting and dancing as she joined a group of people designated to receive the emergency food rations.
“My children will enjoy maize fufu today” she said referring to the African specialty dish she was planning to cook with the rations she and her 39 guests were going to get from WFP.
Josiane and more than 50,000 people displaced in the area will get this food for the next three months. Even though Cifunzi is only 60 kms away from Bukavu, the roads are so bad that it takes three to four hours to get there.
Like most farmers in the area, Josiane grows and eats cassava, beans or banana. In 2011, heavy rainfall destroyed cereal and bean crops in Kalonge. Food became scarce in the village and prices kept increasing, especially with the arrival of thousands of people displaced by conflict. In October 2011, a food security assessment carried out by WFP and partners found that 46% of households in Kalonge do not have enough to eat.
Sharing the already scarce resources with their new guests led to a reduction in the income of host families and disruption of schooling for children. Like others, Josiane could not afford to send her nine children to school anymore. She decided to keep two of them at home with her and they now help her with household chores.
WFP assistance is helping people get access to food and allows them to focus on rebuilding their lives. As she was bringing her bag of maize meal home, Josiane whispered to her eldest son in Swahili: “this kahunga – maize- will keep us fed for a good two weeks.”