DR Congo

Latest on the deteriorating situation in Eastern DR Congo

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Latest developments

- An estimated 100,000 people have fled from North Kivu's Rutshuru territory, of which about half are children.

- Over the last six weeks alone, more than 250,000 people have been forced to flee fighting, bringing the total number of displaced people in the province to over 1 million 20% of the overall population).

Key UNICEF Concerns

Child survival - risks of cholera and measles outbreaks and increasing child malnutriton

Protection - children separated from their families during displacement; more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and violence

Humanitarian Access - opening slightly around Goma but access to tens of thousands of other IDPs moving north to Kanyabayongo from Rutshuru is needed

Needs assessments

- Humanitarian access is extremely limited

- Preliminary assessments in IDP camps in Kibati suggest emergency shelter and nutrition needs

- An emergency nutritional screening is being carried out today in Kibati to determine child malnutrition rates and future UNICEF nutrition interventions; malnutrition is at serious risk of increasing amongst IDP children; malnutrition has been a major child killer in the DRC

Response

- UNICEF continues scaling up its emergency response to meet the desparate needs of the tens of thousands of newly displaced

- UNICEF is preparing emergency measles vaccinations for 86,000 children (13,000 children in Kibati on Nov. 6th and to 73,000 others throughout the province when access open); measles is an extremely contagious disease that risks spreading rapidly during large population movement like we have now; it is a major child killer

- UNICEF is sending water and sanitation, medicine and medical equipment (jerrycans, medical kits) which could help 24,000 persons.

- UNICEF, with the help of WFP, has delivered emergency food bars (BP5) to 6,000 displaced children outside of Goma on Oct 31st.

- UNICEF partner Mercy Corps is providing additional water trucking and latrine construction to provide all IDPs with clean water and adequate sanitation; UNICEF partner Save the children's point d'écoute (listening support points) are actively identifying and carrying out family tracing for new unaccompanied minors.

- 37 children were re-recruited last week by Mayi Mayi forces before the CNDPs advance in Rutshuru; the Mayi Mayi recruited these children to bolster their forces to protect local communities against the CNDP; child recruitment by all armed groups has increased significantly over the past 2 months since the escalation in the conflict; UNICEF reminds all armed groups of their obligation not to recruit and use children, and to release all boys and girls under the age of 18 currently in their ranks.

- On Nov. 4th UNICEF received supplies donated by Memisa Belgium and the GoBelgium; 11,300 plastic sheets, 24,000 buckets, 18,000 blankets, and 1,000,000 water purification tablets will arrive from DFID by the end of the week; plastic sheets for emergency shelter and blankets are critical to protect children from respiratory infections, which is the number 2 killer of children in the DRC, water purification tablets are critical to providing clean water which is critical to help prevent the epidemics of communicable diseases such as cholera and diarrhea; buckets are critical for the population to carry clean water and prevent contamination by carrying it through other means.

Background

- Fighting resumed in North Kivu province on Saturday evening, October 25, between Government forces (FARDC) and the militia known as the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), led by former general Laurent Nkunda.

For more information, please contact:

Jaya Murthy
Communications Specialist
UNICEF DRC
(Eastern Zonal Office - Goma)
Tel: +243 81 830 5933
Email: jmurthy@unicef.org