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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
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 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 Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
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 Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
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 Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs