DR Congo

Half of families torn apart by war in the Congo, says Save the Children

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Over half the people displaced by the latest round of fighting in the Congo have become separated from family members in the chaos of war, a survey by Save the Children and other aid agencies suggests.

The survey showed 63% of displaced people in the camps and shelters around Goma in eastern Congo had lost contact with one or more close relatives as they fled the fighting. Over a quarter - 26% - of those surveyed had lost a child, and 17% had lost their husband or wife.

If these results are replicated across the Congo's conflict zone it suggests a huge problem for families already traumatised by war.

Hussein Mursal, who heads the Save the Children operation in Democratic Republic of Congo, said: "We surveyed 284 people in Kibati camp, churches, schools and clinics around Goma, so this is only a straw poll.

"But we believe it is clearly indicative of a wider problem in eastern DRC. The people in the Congo have endured terrible physical conditions and this survey gives a glimpse of the emotional turmoil most of them are enduring too.

"Families have been torn apart by war. Many of those we surveyed have no idea if their children, spouses and other close relatives are alive or dead."

Notes to editors

The survey was conducted by Save the Children, Oxfam, ActionAid and Merlin. In total 284 people in Kibati camp, churches, schools and clinics around Goma were surveyed this week. All had been displaced in the latest round of fighting