Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - A total of 2.25 billion dollars is needed to help the 10 million people in the three eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Ituri, North and South Kivu) who, according to the Humanitarian Plan 2023 of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are in need of assistance. The most urgent needs concern the 5.7 million internally displaced people due to insecurity and fighting in North Kivu.
According to OCHA, the humanitarian crisis has been exacerbated over the past 12 months by an increase in violence, particularly in North Kivu, where more than 600,000 people have been displaced since March 2022 as fighting by armed group M23 resumed.
Among them are thousands of children who were forced to leave their homes and are now living in refugee camps across the region.
The camp in Bulengo, southwest of Goma, the capital of North Kivu, is one of the camps for internally displaced people that house them. But instead of being protected and cared for, the children are forced to beg on the city streets to survive. They can be seen on the streets of the Lac Vert district, begging from passers-by and in shops and restaurants. A sad reality that can be found in almost all IDP camps in the Nyiragongo and Masisi areas and in the city of Goma. Displaced children face extreme hardships, including malnutrition, lack of health care and education, and an increased risk of exploitation and violence.
Meanwhile, fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 militias continues in the Kitshanga region towards Mweso in the Masisi region, some 100km northwest of Goma.
To put an end to the attacks by the M23 movement, the East African Community (EAC) has started deploying a strike force in North Kivu to force the militiamen to withdraw. For this purpose, a precise timetable has been established for their withdrawal and a map of the places where the Kenyan, Ugandan, Burundian and South Sudanese soldiers of the EAC force will be stationed (see Fides, 15/2/2023).
But discontent is growing in local civil society over the presence of foreign soldiers, especially from some neighboring countries, who are suspected of seeking to appropriate the region's natural riches. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/2/2023)
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