Postcards to the President
Messages from citizens around the world
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
You Witness News
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Conflict makes Congo "worst place to be a child"
Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:22pm EST
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Hereward Holland
GOMA, Congo (Reuters) - Packed into squalid refugee camps or roaming in the bush, hundreds of thousands of Congolese children face hunger, disease, sexual abuse or recruitment by marauding armed factions, aid workers said on Tuesday.
Weeks of violence have forced more than 250,000 people from homes or ramshackle camps where they had taken shelter, bringing to over 1 million the number of internal refugees from years of fighting in Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province.
Most are children.
"North Kivu is quite possibly the worst place to be a child. There is no question that children have been the most severely affected by the recent conflict," said George Graham, spokesman for Save the Children in the provincial capital, Goma.
Fighting between Tutsi rebels and pro-government troops and militia fighters has subsided into sporadic clashes in recent days as African leaders staged summits and leant on both sides to avert a repeat of Congo's devastating 1998-2003 regional war.
"When children flee fighting they become more vulnerable to contracting diseases, to becoming malnourished, and vulnerable to predators like sexual abuse, exploitation, violence and recruitment into armed groups," U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) spokesman Jaya Murthy told Reuters in Goma.
Sixty percent of the 1.1 million displaced are children, he said. "We estimate that there's around 2,000 to 3,000 children in armed groups and recruitment is going on right now."
"This has been a silent emergency for children for the last five years, only now it is re-exploding -- again."
Fighters on both sides have attacked, looted, raped and murdered civilians in raids the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo, known as MONUC, says include war crimes.
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch quoted local sources and civilians as saying at least 50 civilians were killed last week in Kiwanja, 70 km (45 miles) north of Goma.
Nyrarukundo Rivera, 42, told Reuters she lost her children when fleeing violence in Kiwanja and hadn't seen them since.
CHOLERA ON THE RISE
At least 1,000 cholera infections have been reported since the start of October, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
"We fear this is a direct result of the spreading insecurity," WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said. "As yet we have seen no explosion in cholera cases but the risks are very high."
At least 100,000 refugees are cut off from aid, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said. "Because of the ongoing fighting, these people have received virtually no assistance," he added. Continued...
View article on single page
U.S. urges Ukraine NATO membership, action unlikely
Also on Reuters
Shopping amid bombings in Baghdad's vibrant souks
Galapagos bachelor turtle struggles to be a dad
Cell phone shopping makes wallets redundant in Japan
U.N. council reviews Congo peacekeeping mandate: envoys
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Entertainment: Clue to Beatles enigma for sale
International: Chinese students try democracy
Lifestyle: Laura Bush's tips for Michelle Obama
Most Popular on Reuters
Palin says not interested in running for Senate | Video
Obama daughters asked to appear on "Hannah Montana" | Video
Obama urges action as Asian, European data gloomy | Video
Laura Bush shares White House tips with Michelle Obama
Britney Spears son released from hospital: report | Video
Obama tries being regular guy for a while longer
Obama seeks new approach in Afghanistan: report | Video
Obama aides play down tensions with Bush | Video
AIG gets $150 billion government bailout; posts huge loss
Ferrari boss smashed TV after F1 finale
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
World's longest legs
Obama's historic White House visit
Michelle Obama as First Lady
Unseen WW1 pictures released
Obama, Bush meet at White House
Kayaking to work
Volcano rumbles in Ecuador.
Talk of the Town: Spears' son
Obama, Bush discuss transition
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
Crisis in Congo
Violence flares in East Congo, displacing thousands of people. Slideshow
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Reuters in Second Life |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.