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BOSTON -- Actor Emile Hirsch joined with international agency Oxfam to raise awareness about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Emile spent five days visiting the country which has suffered one of the most deadly conflicts since World War II, where over 5.4 million people have died, 1.3 million are displaced, and violence and rape are a daily threat.
Emile Hirsch said: "My trip with Oxfam to the Democratic Republic of Congo was a mind blowing odyssey into the heart of Africa, equal parts informative and inspiring. It is a country filled with iron-willed people, suffering through one of the worst humanitarian situations on the planet. Oxfam is doing a lot of good work, but there is still much more to be done."
He began his trip in the poverty-stricken Maniema Province where Oxfam is working with former child soldiers to disarm and re-integrate them back into their home communities. In some cases, the children were forcibly taken from their homes to become fighters during the height of the conflict. These men are now working with their communities to attain forgiveness for wrongs committed and to work towards a peaceful future.
Emile's visit concluded in the province of North Kivu, where conflict is still affecting the population. At two camps for Internally Displaced People, he spoke with families driven from their homes by armed groups and saw the cramped conditions of over 9,000 people waiting for safe conditions which will allow them to return to their villages. Oxfam is providing water and sanitation to over 40,000 people that live in the four camps in the Goma, North Kivu area.
Oxfam's President, Raymond C. Offenheiser, stated that the actor's involvement can help keep the international community focused on this chronic emergency.
"By supporting Oxfam, Emile can help shed light on the issues facing Congo at this critical time. The people of Congo need our help to feel safe and protected and to keep the country on the path to peace. They have not lost hope for a better future, and we must keep that hope alive. Emile's visit emphasizes that the people of Congo are not alone," said Offenheiser.