Children walk in front of Tshinyama Primary School in Nganza commune, Kasai province Occidental, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
KINSHASA/DAKAR/GENEVA/NEW YORK/HONG KONG, 28 July 2017 –More than 1 million people have been forced from their homes by waves of violent conflict in the Greater Kasaï region of the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) – making the region one of the largest displacement crises in the world for children, UNICEF said today.
“The lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families in Greater Kasaï have been turned upside down by this brutal violence,” said Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Acting Representative in the DRC. “A total of 1.4 million people, including 850,000 children, have been displaced, with at least 60,000 uprooted in the month of June alone.”
Most of the people who have been displaced in the region are now living with foster families and relatives in communities that are already among the poorest in the country. In many cases, they have lost or left behind all their essential goods and personal belongings.
A smaller number of displaced families have fled into the bush in the vicinity of their villages, surviving in improvised huts. These families are the most vulnerable and the least accessible to humanitarian workers. They suffer from lack of adequate food, shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation.
“This is a rapidly growing humanitarian crisis, and with our partners, we are working amid great insecurity to try to help these highly vulnerable families,” said Oyewale.
UNICEF and its partners have implemented a cash assistance programme for displaced people that provides households with HK$781.2 (US$100) cash support that can be used for basic necessities. To date, UNICEF has supported 11,225 households through this programme.
In addition to the cash programme, a flexible multi-sectoral programme called Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) pre-positions materials and aid partners to rapidly respond to the needs of displaced populations. The assistance includes healthcare, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and essential non-food items (shelter materials, kitchen utensils, buckets of water, blankets, etc.). Some 50,000 households are expected to benefit from this programme over the coming months.
So far this year, UNICEF and its partners have assisted 157,490 people in urgent humanitarian need thanks to the support of donors.