from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – CONFLICT and disease have rendered the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) among the countries most hostile to children.
The minors are bearing the brunt of the multi-faceted crisis in the explosive nation.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), since the beginning of the year, at least 55 children are reported to have been murdered or injured as a result of conflict-related violence.
Rebel groups are perpetrating the violence, particularly in the east of the country where the army is also accused of violations.
The provinces of Ituri North and Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika are the latest epicentres of the conflict.
This is despite the deployment of the joint Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) in some regions.
“The humanitarian situation remained worrying,” said a humanitarian spokesperson.
More than 150 000 additional displaced people have been registered as a result of violence.
DRC has faced numerous epidemics, the most prominent being cholera, measles, poliomyelitis and COVID-19.
Since January, the country reported 14 586 suspected cases of measles, including 257 deaths.
There have been 3 518 suspected cases of cholera, including 52 deaths.
More than 30 people have died from COVID-19 since January.
Over 15,8 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF has appealed for US$356 million to sustain the provision of humanitarian services for women and children.
A funding gap of 82 percent exists.
– CAJ News