NEW YORK (March 22, 2024) – A major upsurge in violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has seen at least 400,000 people displaced in North Kivu since the beginning of the year risks exposing children to further violence unless their protection can be reinforced.

In the latest incident on Wednesday highlighting the spillover of the conflict into South Kivu province, an explosion in the town of Minova seriously injured four children who require hospital treatment.

“It is tragic that at a busy time of day when many children were returning home from school, this explosion from a bomb maimed four innocent children,” said Katya Marino, UNICEF Deputy Representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The town is already under incredible strain with massive numbers of new arrivals of internally displaced people”

More than 95,000 newly displaced people, half of whom are children, arrived in Minova in February as the conflict in North Kivu expanded.

Over the past week, UNICEF and local partners distributed essential household supplies in Minova to more than 8,300 newly displaced families. The area is now increasingly difficult to access with assistance, either by road or boat.

In Minova, UNICEF has been assisting children affected by the conflict with a package of basic services since 2023, including wash and health interventions, while supporting community-based networks to refer and protect children affected by armed conflict.

In February alone, UNICEF and partners provided tailored and age-specific mental health and psychosocial support services to more than 1,900 children, provided temporary care to 150 children unaccompanied by or separated from their families while making efforts to find their families, and supported more than 300 survivors of gender-based violence (girls, boys and women) with medical, psychosocial and legal services and economic reintegration.

UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict to prioritize the protection of civilians and allow humanitarian agencies to do their work.

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For more information please contact:
Jenna Buraczenski, UNICEF USA, (917) 720-