Last week, the ICRC reunited 52 unaccompanied children aged between 3 and 17 with their families, from whom they had been separated by the conflict.
On 26 February, the first group of 27 children were flown by ICRC-chartered DC-3 from Goma, in the east of the country, to Kinshasa in the west, where their families were waiting for them. The next day, the same aircraft was boarded in Kinshasa by 25 children who were heading in the opposite direction to rejoin their relatives in Goma, Bukavu and Kisangani, and Kigali in Rwanda.
The ICRC, together with volunteers from the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has thus enabled more than 600 children to return to their families since the beginning of last year (over 400 in 2002 and over 200 in the last two months). The ICRC is making unremitting efforts to trace the relatives of hundreds of children who have not seen their next of kin for months or even, in some cases, years.
The purpose of family reunifications, organized on a strictly voluntary basis, is to address one of the many consequences of armed conflicts, namely the splitting up of families.
Elizabeth Twinch, ICRC Goma, tel. ++250
Reto Stocker, ICRC Bukavu, tel. ++250 0830 0451