United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF): Fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is having a devastating impact on children
Violence has intensified over the last week after a period of relative calm, presenting aid agencies with a major humanitarian and logistical challenge
UNICEF is working around the clock to provide assistance to children and their families
UNICEF has expressed its utmost concern about the serious damage to children caused by recent fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Violence has intensified over the last week after a period of relative calm, presenting aid agencies with a major humanitarian and logistical challenge.
Thousands of people have been displaced from the towns of Rutshuru and Kiwanja on the eastern side of the country, near the border with Rwanda and Uganda.
Many of those displaced are children – some unaccompanied - travelling on foot or by overladen motorcycles towards the city of Goma and other areas to flee the fighting.
It is estimated that over the course of a week about 40,000 people have been displaced in Rutshuru territory including about 6,500 people who are reported to have fled to Uganda.
That is in addition to about 200,000 people who were displaced over the last year before the latest surge in violence.
UNICEF is calling on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and to protect children in particular.
“The latest fighting is having a devastating impact on children and their families,” said UNICEF’s Goma Office head Jean Metenier.
“They have been forced to flee their homes with only their most essential possessions. While some displaced people can live with family members thousands of people have been rendered homeless.
“That is why UNICEF is working around the clock to provide assistance to children and their families.”
UNICEF and partner NGOs are providing access to safe water and sanitation, child protection, essential emergency household goods, medicine, nutrition and emergency education to displaced families as they move to safer locations.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).