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Assisting the internally displaced families of inter-ethnic violence in the DRC: UNMISS

More than 17,000 internally displaced persons who have sought refuge at the Bunia General Hospital site received a kit consisting of tarpaulins, blankets, mats, soaps, cups and plastic buckets. 


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  • Assisting the internally displaced families in the DRC (Representative Image)

In the unexpected rain that began early this morning in February, Francine and her children stormed the Telega Primary School, a town about 12 kilometers from the capital Bunia, the capital of the province. Ituri in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The mother of five is among the thousands who have been forced to flee their villages because of inter-ethnic violence in the Djugu territory of Ituri Province.

"It was our own brothers who started killing us," says Francine. "They cut and killed people with axes, machetes, and arrows. Others had firearms. That's why we fled here, "she says.

The inter-ethnic violence, which intensified in early February, has already claimed the lives of around 100 people, mostly children, and displaced more than 110,000 people to neighboring Uganda and the city. from Bunia and its surroundings. While some of the displaced are accommodated in host families, the majority, like Francine and her children, settled in schools, churches and health centers.

Deprived of everything, Francine and her children hardly eat a meal a day. They drink water from the river and do their outdoor needs, exposing them to the risks of diarrheal diseases.

Inter-ethnic violence in the Djugu territory has a devastating effect on children. At least three health centers and seven schools were looted and/or burned, depriving children of health care and education. UNICEF estimates that as a result of the violence, more than 100 schools interrupted classes, preventing 30,000 children from reaching school.

"My five children were all going to school when we were at home. But since we are here, they do not go for lack of space and means, "  said Francine.

In response to this crisis, UNICEF and its partners are distributing essential household items to displaced families. More than 17,000 internally displaced persons who have sought refuge at the Bunia General Hospital site received a kit consisting of tarpaulins, blankets, mats, soaps, cups and plastic buckets. UNICEF has also installed water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for the displaced. These interventions are part of the Program for Rapid Response to Population Movements (RRMP) financially supported by the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection ( ECHO ), the Central Emergency Response Fund ( CERF). ) and the governments of the  United States ,  United Kingdom , Sweden ,  Japan ,  Canada  and  Belgium .

Beyond the humanitarian response, Francine advocates for a sustainable solution for the people of Ituri.  "We want to go home. We ask that those who kill us lay down their weapons.

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