NEW YORK (November 26, 2012) — As clashes between the M23 movement and the Congolese Army continue in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, children are caught on the frontlines. UNICEF is on the ground working to deliver urgent supplies to children and their families.
The recent clashes have uprooted at least 100,000 people, more than half of whom are children.
So far UNICEF has delivered high energy biscuits to cover the essential nutrition needs of 5,800 highly vulnerable, displaced children. Once the security situation improves, UNICEF and partners are ready to deliver basic services—including blankets, jerry cans, water and sanitation items, and temporary schooling—to 60,000 people.
Overcrowding in the area, combined with the rainy season, has increased the threat of diarrheal diseases and cholera. Four cases of cholera have been reported at the Don Bosco site in Goma, where 8,000 people have sought refuge. UNICEF and partners have increased the number of chlorination points to 58 in the Lake Kivu area to improve water treatment. Safe drinking water is being delivered by truck to sites that have experienced a mass influx of newly displaced people.
UNICEF is extremely concerned by the escalating violence. Children risk death and injury and are being exposed to unexploded ordnances that pose an additional threat to their safety.
“Humanitarian workers on the ground like UNICEF and other local partners are working hard under extremely difficult circumstances,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We can do more if we get better access to those who have been forced to flee.”
“We urge all parties to the conflict to respect international law so that humanitarian agencies can reach those affected by this conflict.”
It is estimated that more than 1,000 children have been separated from their families during the chaos that followed the clashes. Five hundred children are already benefiting from temporary care in Don Bosco where UNICEF has been providing food, clean water and medical care since the beginning of the conflict.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.