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Mass displacements in eastern DR Congo threaten young lives

Mass displacements in eastern DR Congo threaten young lives

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Tuesday, November 08, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) grows daily as youth flee conflict between Congolese security forces and the resurgent non-state armed group M23. According to Dounia Dekhili, emergency manager for UNICEF, camps for internally displaced people are dangerous.

  • Children and young people in the incredibly crowded camps face the risk of gender-based violence and the cholera threat.

  • Intensified combatSince October 20, combat has become more intense, forcing thousands of people from Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province to flee, mainly to Kanyaruchinya and Kibati, north of Goma, and to Lubero territory.

  • The newly displaced are now part of roughly 200,000 IDPs who have been compelled to leave their homes since the last wave of violence started in late March.

  • Emergency health and nutrition care is being given to IDPs and the host community to prevent severe malnutrition, and UNICEF has already helped 200 homes avoid cholera.

The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) grows daily as youth flee conflict between Congolese security forces and the resurgent non-state armed group M23.

According to Dounia Dekhili, emergency manager for UNICEF, camps for internally displaced people are dangerous. Children and young people in the incredibly crowded camps face the risk of gender-based violence and the cholera threat.

Intensified combat

Since October 20, combat has become more intense, forcing thousands of people from Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province to flee, mainly to Kanyaruchinya and Kibati, north of Goma, and to Lubero territory.

Along the Rutshuru-Goma axis, the conflict is causing a significant population shift to the north and south.

The newly displaced are now part of roughly 200,000 IDPs who have been compelled to leave their homes since the last wave of violence started in late March.

Humanitarian access is also becoming more restricted as the security situation in the eastern DRC worsens.

Driven to flee

In the past 10 days, over 100,000 displaced individuals have sought refuge in the cities of Goma and Lubero’s extremely overcrowded tent camps, whose flimsy shelters offer little protection from the region’s frequent downpours.

In addition, a cholera pandemic is a possibility due to a lack of clean water and the fact that many must sleep outside without tarpaulins.

“We have reconnected roughly 80 children with their families in the Nyiragongo area alone so far. “There are nearly 190 children who have been cut off from their families or caregivers during the pandemonium of recent displacements,” stated Ms. Dekhili.

The likelihood is that as the situation progresses, more unaccompanied children will almost certainly appear.

It is not an exaggeration to state that thousands of camp residents’ lives are in imminent danger.

Stop the pain “immediately”

The most vulnerable children continue to receive services for child protection, health care, and nutrition from UNICEF and partners despite the unstable and unpredictable environment. Additionally, attempts are being made to reopen schools in the long run.

Emergency health and nutrition care is being given to IDPs and the host community to prevent severe malnutrition, and UNICEF has already helped 200 homes avoid cholera.

According to UNICEF Goma Field Office Director Jean Metenier, “the current priorities are to offer access to safe water and sanitation, to work with sister agencies and partners to distribute food, and to enhance the quality of shelters.”

“We demand that all parties to the conflict put an end to violence, safeguard parents and children, and work toward peace.” Here, the misery must stop right away.

MONUSCO lends a hand

At the same time, the Department of Peace Operations reported that 150 people were evacuated by the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) due to conflicts involving M23 rebels.

They were transported by helicopter in North Kivu from Kiwanja to Goma.

Additionally, the Mission provided medical training and medicine to the Bunia hospital for displaced persons and those hurt by armed conflict.

MONUSCO is still aiding national peace-building initiatives in the east.

For instance, in the province of Ituri, it works with the police to regulate crowds and teaches journalists from three radio stations how to cope with misinformation and disinformation.

Many families have taken refuge at the Kanyaruchinya site for displaced people in North Kivu province following the fighting in eastern DR Congo.
Jospin Benekire/UNICEF

Following the war in eastern DR Congo, numerous families have sought safety in the Kanyaruchinya facility for displaced people in North Kivu province.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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