Amid intensifying armed clashes in Djugu, Mahagi and Irumu territories in Ituri Province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), UNICEF has continued to provide life-saving assistance to 100,000 children and their families.
More than 1.6 million people – the majority of which are women and children – are currently displaced in Ituri and have sought shelter in host communities and already overcrowded displacement sites in and around Bunia, Ituri’s main town.
While demobilization and reconciliation efforts by the Congolese government have revived hopes for peace in Ituri, thousands of internally displaced families and children lack access to basic services, education and healthcare. The situation of children is particularly concerning, as 151 allegations of serious child rights violations, such as rape, killing and maiming, attacks on schools and health centres have been recorded since May to June 2020. Many children might not have a place to study when schools reopen next month, as 165 have been destroyed since January 2020.
In June and July, UNICEF, through its partners on the ground, has:
· Provided 1,868 households with non-food items such as cooking utensils, mats, tarpaulin, blankets and soap;
· Ensured access to education for over 1 million children who are not attending schools due to COVID-19. Children can access distance learning through 57 community radios or through print workbooks. UNICEF has distributed 24,000 workbooks and more than 1,000 solar-powered radios to vulnerable children;
· Reunited 13 unaccompanied children with their families, while placed 30 with foster families;
· Placed 15 children associated with armed forces and groups in transitory care, reunited 9 with their families, and supported 6 to continue their educational, socio-economic and professional reintegration;
· Provided 4,591 displaced children and other vulnerable children psychosocial and recreational care activities in child-friendly spaces; provided around 100 children victims of rape with holistic care;
· Treated 9,992 children under five suffering from severe acute malnutrition;
· Provided health facilities in close proximity to displaced camps with medical supplies and essential medicines to treat severe malaria cases, diarrhea and pneumonia, and for the obstetrical care of pregnant women;
· Provided 98,000 displaced people and host community members with access to drinking water, hygiene and sanitation through the construction and rehabilitation of latrines, showers and rubbish dumps.
UNICEF calls on humanitarian partners to maintain their presence in Ituri Province and on international donors to continue funding its lifesaving operations to meet the growing needs of internally displaced families and their children.
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for the DR Congo is US$ 262 million. As of 15 July 2020, only US$ 26.6 had been received and US$ 68.6 million were carried forward from the previous year, leaving a funding gap of US$ 218 million (64%).