Hundreds of thousands of children in a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo face imminent death from hunger, the UN children’s agency, Unicef, warned on May 11.
Without urgent humanitarian assistance, said the agency, child fatalities in the Kasai region – which erupted in violence in August 2016, and has forced 1 million people from their homes – could “skyrocket”.
According to Unicef, 770,000 children are malnourished, with 400,000 at risk of death. The agency has appealed for $88m (£65m) to support children in Kasai, with half the funds to be spent on child nutrition.
Including those forced to flee their homes in Kasai, an estimated 4.5 millionCongolese people have been displaced. The figure is hotly disputed by the government, which last month boycotted a donor conference to raise money for the crisis. The event raised only $530m, a fraction of the $1.7bn requested by the UN.
A lull in hostilities has led some people to return to their communities, but Fatoumata Ndiaye, the deputy executive director of Unicef, said: “Conflict and displacement continue to have devastating consequences for the children of Kasai.
“Thousands of displaced children have spent months without access to the services they need – like healthcare, safe drinking water and education – and their wellbeing has suffered tremendously.
“Now that access is improving, the government and humanitarian partners, with support from the international community, must ramp up life-saving interventions for children before it’s too late.”
Source: The Guardian