Change Makers

Warren Buffett’s son pledges aid to Congo refugees

Howard Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, got to see first-hand the dire situation many displaced Congolese families have faced since fleeing recent conflict.

Buffett, a World Food Programme Ambassador Against Hunger, spent a day with World Vision staff members in early December as they distributed food and other items to families in Mugunga I and Lac Vert camps near Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

World Vision is the largest distributor of food from the World Food Programme.

During his visit, Buffett pledged $1 million to provide suffering Congolese with further support. The contribution will give food assistance to 41,000 people for three months, according to a recent WFP report.  About 61,000 people currently live in the Mugunga I camp.

The gift came just in time, as WFP and World Vision supplies were running low.

Buffett, a longtime advocate for the war-weary Congolese people, told World Vision he hopes the immediate assistance will help people return home sooner.

“Our hope is through the support and work of the World Food Programme … World Vision, and other NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) that are committed to this, that we can get people back home, we can get some security, we can get some stabilization,” Buffett says.

Since the recent flare-up in violence began Nov. 15, World Vision has distributed food and other necessities to nearly 134,000 people in five camps near Goma. The recent conflict has displaced more than 140,000 people.

Buffett cut to the core of why help is urgently needed.

“This is no way for people to live,” he says. “This is no place to have your children. And so the ultimate goal is to get people home and back to where they can focus on their own livelihood.”

 

Aimee Manimani of World Vision’s staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo contributed to this article.

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