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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.