News / Africa

Congo Children Among Victims of M23 Goma Takeover

Congolese citizens look at tank shells lying next to roadside, left behind by retreating government troops as they fled assault by M23 rebels, in eastern Congo, Nov. 21, 2012.
Congolese citizens look at tank shells lying next to roadside, left behind by retreating government troops as they fled assault by M23 rebels, in eastern Congo, Nov. 21, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says children are among the main victims of the clashes involving M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.    The U.N. agency says children under age 18 comprise more than half of the 100,000 people reportedly uprooted by the fighting and the capture of the city of Goma.  
UNICEF is stepping up support to thousands of children caught on the front lines in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  It says aid workers on the ground are delivering urgent supplies to children and their families.
 
According to the United Nations,  recent attacks launched by the rebel group M23 in North Kivu province have forced thousands of already-displaced men, women and children to flee again.  Among them are an estimated 60,000 people who fled Kanyaruchinya camp, some 10 kilometers from the provincial capital, Goma.
 
Humanitarian agencies reportedly have identified three sites in Goma which will be able to shelter and care for many of the newly-displaced.  UNICEF says 8,000 people, including significant numbers of unaccompanied children, are sheltering at the Catholic Don Bosco center in Goma.  
 
It warns overcrowding in the area and the rainy season are increasing the threat of diarrheal diseases and cholera.  It notes four cases of cholera already have been reported at the Don Bosco site.
 
UNICEF spokeswoman, Marixie Mercado, says population movements increase the risk of cholera.  
 
“Cholera was already present in the Kanyaruchinya camp and in Goma, and the camps that are receiving displaced people are seriously short of water and sanitation facilities," said Mercado. "Last week in Goma, a sudden power outage caused serious water shortages, forcing many residents to drink lake water, and this heightens the risk of waterborne disease even more.”  
 
So far this year, latest figures put the number of cholera cases in the DRC at more than 27,000.  Mercado says water, sanitation and hygiene are the most urgent humanitarian needs, along with food, nutrition supplies, and tarpaulins for shelter.
 
In the meantime, the U.N. Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says it is increasingly difficult to carry out humanitarian operations in eastern Congo.
 
OCHA spokesman, Jens Laerke, says the unrest is putting at risk thousands of people who depend upon international aid and are not receiving it.
 
“The neighboring South Kivu province is also affected by the very poor security situation, which has also led to suspension or reduction of some humanitarian activities in some areas there," said Laerke. "Also, in South Kivu as a consequence, thousands of vulnerable people are not receiving the assistance they urgently need.  Humanitarian workers are also increasingly being targeted in the eastern DRC.  Since the beginning of the year, aid workers have been targeted in nearly 170 security incidents in the two provinces.”   
 
OCHA is calling on the Congolese authorities to protect civilians and humanitarian workers and to provide unhindered access to people in need.   
 
The United Nations reports more than 2.4 million people are internally displaced in the DRC as a result of violence and conflict and 4.5 million people throughout the country are suffering from food insecurity.
 
UNICEF says 60 percent of the IDPs are women and children.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More