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WFP helps families cope with the arrival of displaced people in South Kivu

Josiane Matchirucha is receiving WFP emergency food assistance to help her feed the five families that have sought shelter in her home. Copyrights: WFP/ Djaounsede Pardon

A mother of nine, Josiane Matchirucha has not been displaced but, still, she is among the most affected by population displacement. Five families have sought shelter in her home. Now, forty people live under her roof, eat at her table and share her toilet.

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.”