Thursday, June 01, 2017

The DRC Refugee Crisis

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has more internally displaced persons than any other country due to numerous violent conflicts, fuelled by political crises. 

The result: almost a million people were forced to flee their homes in 2016 alone – globally, the largest number of refugees fleeing armed conflict. According to the latest figures from the "Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre" (IDMC), which are based on UN data, the 922,000 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the DRC place the country ahead of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria. 

Ongoing violence in central DRC has left around 400,000 children at risk of life-threatening malnourishment. In the Kasai region, heath centers have been forced to closed due to looting, a lack of security for staff and a shortage of medical supplies, the UN's children's agency UNICEF has reported. 

Conflict in the area has already driven 9,000 children to flee across the border to the Angolan city of Dundo. The journey means a long and potentially dangerous walk through the bush, says Abubacar Sultan, who works for UNICEF in Angola. "Some of these children actually seem to have been direct victims of attacks," he says. "They come wounded, some of them with their limbs mutilated or parts of their bodies burned, some with bullets still in their bodies."
Two camps provide refuge for the children, but some arrive alone, having been separated from their parents either in their villages, during the journey or even at the moment of transportation to the camps, Sultan explains, adding that UNICEF tries to track down their relatives. 

Critics say the government is doing little to address the conflicts.

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