UNICEF very concerned by the 46,000 displaced or refugee children from the Ituri Province

violence in Ituri

Photo: UNICEF RDC 2013 Morton

PRESS RELEASE – Interethnic violence has ravaged the Ituri Province in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since December, generating significant population movements within the Province, and toward neighbouring Uganda. UNICEF is very concerned by the situation, as more than 46,000 children are fleeing because of the violence.

More than 70 villages have been burned during the recent violence. More than 76 murders with bladed weapons have been documented, the majority of the victims of which have been women and children. At least three health centres and seven schools have been pillaged and/or burned, depriving children of healthcare and education. UNICEF estimates that, as a result of the violence, more than 100 schools have stopped their classes, depriving 30,000 children of schooling. UNICEF and its partners have identified 70 unaccompanied children and 245 children separated from their families in urgent need of assistance in the surrounds of the general hospital in Bunia, the capital of the Ituri Province.

In response to the crisis, UNICEF has activated its Rapid Response to Population Movements (RRMP) program from its Bunia office. With its partners and in coordination with other humanitarian actors, UNICEF distributes tarpaulins on sites identified by provincial authorities for the voluntary relocation of displaced persons, as well as household article kits (soaps, water purification products, cooking kits, pagnes, and blankets). UNICEF and its governmental partner have sent child protection teams to the field to identify unaccompanied and separated children, and to take them into their care.

UNICEF calls on all parties to protect children from the violence, and to seek a peaceful resolution of their differences.

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Translated from French by Darren Ou Yong

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Yves Willemot

Yves Willemot est le chef de l’Équipe InfoCom de l’UNICEF RDC. Plus que tout, ce qui est important pour lui c'est d'être "tous ensemble pour les enfants".

Yves Willemot is Head of the UNICEF DRC InfoCom Team. More than anything, he believes that the most important is to "be together for the children".

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