United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised concerns about the dire situation of some 3,000,000 displaced children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
UNICEF made this known in a report, Fear and Flight: An uprooted generation of children at risk in the DRC, which underscores the gravity of crisis in the country.
The report recounted testimony of children who have been recruited as militia fighters, subjected to sexual assault, and suffered other grave violations of their rights.
The UN agency says villages have been set ablaze, health centres and schools ransacked, and entire families – including children – hacked to death, in a series of attacks.
According to UN data, there are some 5.2 million displaced people in the country, about half of whom were displaced in the last twelve months.
‘Displaced children know nothing but fear, poverty, and violence. Generation after generation can think only of survival’, UNICEF Representative for the DRC, Edouard Beigbeder, said in a statement.
‘Yet the world seems increasingly indifferent to their fate. We need the resources to continue helping these children have a better future’.
The statement noted that families forced from their homes and villages were compelled to live in crowded settlements lacking safe water, health care and other basic services.
‘Others are taken in by impoverished local communities. In the most violence-afflicted provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika, more than eight million people are acutely food insecure’, it said.
UNICEF said without timely and adequate funding, the agency and its partners will not be able to provide critical services addressing the acute humanitarian needs of affected children and their families and protect and promote their rights.
‘Without sustained humanitarian intervention, thousands of children will die from malnutrition or disease, and displaced populations will not receive the basic lifesaving services they depend on’, Beigbeder said.
Photo source: UNICEF/UN0381756/LeMoyne