Approximately 300,000 people, half of which are children, have been displaced from their homes due to fighting between the Congolese army and rebel forces led by General Laurent Nkuda.
The UN High Commission for Refugees report that 10,000 displaced people have fled over the border from DRC into north-west Uganda. It is possible that the movement of displaced people could also flow into Rwanda.
At least one Internally Displaced Persons camp of 30,000 people has been forced to flee to escape the fighting. Children and their families have limited access to food, health care, sanitation and shelter, and conditions are made worse by daily rains.
Of major concern is that children are at risk of exploitation, sexual violence and abduction by armed groups due to the presence of military groups among displaced populations.
Active fighting on major access roads to Goma has until recently prevented access to the displaced people, but since 1 November, humanitarian access has opened up. So far, Save the Children has distributed non-food kits to approximately 1,800 people, and 53 unaccompanied minors have been identified with the hope of reunifying them with their families.
John Bowis, Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand says: "Save the Children has been operating in DRC since 1994. Our programmes have involved demobilisation of child soldiers, child protection, education and health care. We have experience responding to ongoing emergencies in this region where our programmes have had great success in unifying children with their families, and monitoring the wellbeing of separated and unaccompanied children in these zones."
To make a donation to help the children of DRC
- Call our Save the Children Donation Line: 0800 167 168
Notes to the editor:
- For interviews : we have Save the Children spokespeople in Goma, DRC
Ishbel Matheson, Head of Media, Save
the Children UK (currently in Goma, DRC)
+243 998 593 375 or +44 7899 902 886
- For interviews: the Secretary General of Save the Children Alliance will be in Wellington from 6 - 10 November.
- For Save the Children New Zealand please contact Shelley McCarten, Communications Advisor, 04 381 7573 / 021 108 9131 / firstname.lastname@example.org