DR Congo: Thousands of children have fled villages in the eastern part of the country

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According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, since March, “more than 190,000 people, half of whom are children, have been forced to leave their villages” and move “to Rutsuru and Nyiragongo regions.”

Tens of thousands of children have been forced to flee their homes in villages in the eastern sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where hostilities are raging between security forces and members of the armed group M23, UNICEF announced on Saturday.

Since March, “over 190,000 people, half of them children, have been forced to leave their villages” and move “to Rutsuru and Nyiragongo regions,” the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a statement. .

“Thousands of children are at risk and have very limited access to basic social services, necessary for their survival, in this crisis that is likely to continue, as families are reluctant to return to their villages,” said Grand Letty, a representative of the UNICEF in DR Congo, following his visit to Rutsuru, North Kivu Province.

The South African last toured the Rutsuru region and met with displaced people, according to the statement. In the Kalengera community, for example, the number of uprooted people “is more than double (that of) the indigenous population,” he found.

“Displaced families and their host families are in urgent need of food, household items and assistance with health equipment, water and sanitation,” UNICEF notes.

The UN agency points out that “humanitarian aid is slow to arrive, while needs continue to grow in a very alarming manner.”

“In the absence of assistance, some displaced persons may be forced to return to their villages in highly volatile areas, between positions of the warring parties. It is imperative that there be a reaction immediately to prevent a large increase in the number of children suffering from acute severe malnutrition”, stressed Mr. Leti.

UNICEF assured that it is making interventions in the region.

In the eastern part of DR Congo, violence has flared up for months. M23 rebels are involved in battles with the armed forces of the African country.

M23, or the March 23 Movement, is a Tutsi-dominated rebel group that DR Congo suppressed in 2013 but took up arms again late last year and launched attacks in the country’s east against it. army and UN blue-collar workers, occupying several communities.

Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting the rebels, which the Rwandan government denies.

RES-EMP

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