Violence, displacement and malnutrition: Niclette’s story

Niclette and her daughter

TESTIMONYAfter fleeing the violence between armed forces and the militia in the Province of Kasai, Niclette and her two children found themselves in an extremely  vulnerable situation.

There was nothing to eat

“My name is Niclette, and I have two children both under age 5. I live in the village of Sumbila, in the province of Kasaï. I had tuberculosis and, when I began my treatment, the war started! We fled with the children and reached Tshikapa… We were invited to stay in a church where we stayed for weeks. There was nothing to eat, I could not take my medication.  My health and that of my children declined rapidly. “

After having fled the violence in Kasaï, conflicts erupted in Tshikapa between the Luba community and that of the Tshokwe and Pende.

“We fled from Tshikapa to Kikwit ! When we arrived in Kikwit, we got registered on one of the eleven displacement sites in the area. Since we did not have a host family, we spent our nights on the site itself, almost under the stars. We were given hot food but the distribution stopped and my health worsened: I began vomiting blood. I was very worried about my children. There were no medical centres around to help.”

Ready-made therapeutic food

“People from UNICEF and the FONLIV NGO arrived on the site. They measured my children’s bodies and mine, and immediately gave us Plumpy’Nut. The children and I have been eating prepared foods for a month now. These represent our daily rations as well as medication. Since then, our health has improved greatly. They saved our lives by opening malnutrition treatment centres on the displacement sites. In spite of the strike by the medical staff, we were still treated, and for that, we can only say ‘Thank you’ ! “

Violence in the Grand Kasaï has caused massive population displacements. In August 2017, the number of displaced persons in the neighbouring provinces of Kwango and Kwilu was 28,000. The massive arrival of nearly 12,000 displaced persons in Kikwit, in the province of Kwilu, led to the establishment of 11 sites, 6 of which are crowded (Kazamba, Kanzombi, Mwanga-Dibaya, Carrière, CEDEC and SIMBA Mosala). In July 2017, more than 700 cases of severe acute malnutrition were detected on these sites among women who are pregnant or breast feeding, and children under 5.

UNICEF is supplying ready-made therapeutic foods to its partner  FONLIV NGO to treat severe acute malnutrition among the displaced.

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Translated from French by Marguerite McMillan 

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Patricia Kiye

Patricia Kiye, nutritionniste de formation, est Chargée de Nutrition de UNICEF pour les Provinces du Kwango, Kwilu et Mai Ndombe. Elle aime voir les enfants en bonne santé.

Patricia Kiye, is a trained nutritionist in charge of UNICEF Nutrition in the provinces of Kwango, Kwilu and Mai Ndombe. She loves to see children in good health.

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