News / Africa

UNICEF: Congolese Kids Face Psychological Trauma

M23 rebel group soldiers patrol in Rangira, near Rutshuru, DRC, October 17, 2012.
M23 rebel group soldiers patrol in Rangira, near Rutshuru, DRC, October 17, 2012.
Joe DeCapua
The U.N. children’s agency says heavy fighting around Goma in the eastern DRC has forced thousands of already displaced people to flee once again. UNICEF said it’s particularly concerned about the psychological trauma that Congolese children may face.


The fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebels has made an already unstable area even more unsafe for civilians.

“Our primary concern is the condition of women and children in and around Goma who are affected by the fighting; and of course, of the security and safety of our own personnel on the ground,” said Nona Zicherman, head of emergencies for UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of Congo and based in Kinshasa.

She said many thousands of people already have fled a site for the displaced several kilometers from Goma.

“Well, we know that there was significant population movement into Goma. UNICEF was present in Kanyaruchinya camp outside of Goma, which was home to around 60,000 people. And while we don’t have exact numbers, we know that a significant proportion of the residents of Kanyaruchinya and the surrounding villages have come into Goma, and have come into various sites and are living with host families in various neighborhoods inside Goma,” she said.

UNICEF is already providing assistance to hundreds of women and children seeking shelter at Goma’s Don Bosco Catholic Center.

“UNICEF’s message is always the same – that all parties to the conflict respect the rights of civilians; respect the right of humanitarian actors to access affected populations. That’s our biggest concern for the moment,” she said.

Zicherman added that UNICEF has emergency plans in place.

“UNICEF has a significant presence in Goma with significant emergency stock. So as soon as the emergency situation permits UNICEF staff and partners to move around the town and do assessments, we will be responding with essential household items, with shelter materials, with nutrition intervention, with health intervention, with water and sanitation interventions. We’re quite concerned about the possibility of cholera,” she said.

Cholera has been a problem before both in Goma and the Kanyaruchinya camp.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs