Social tensions in Kasaï, in the Central Democratic Republic of Congo, threaten the survival of the poorest nation in the province. UNICEF urges the international community to fund sustainable humanitarian aid
In the political and health crisis that destroys the Kasai region in the Central Democratic Republic of Congo, children are at the forefront. There are 770,000 to suffer from acute malnutrition. 10% of children under five years are concerned. In a report released on Thursday, UNICEF calls on the international community to fund sustainable humanitarian aid.
"The only thing we miss today is the means to reach all children who need our help," writes Gianfranco Rotigliano, acting UNICEF representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If humanitarian efforts are not intensified, 400,000 children may die of serious malnutrition.
The organization estimates the needs of $ 88 million. This sum consists of $ 45.5 million dedicated to nutrition, $ 1
224 Plundered Health Center
The events that led to this crisis began in August 2016, when a local chief, Jean-Pierre Spread, was killed by police after organizing a rebellion against the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila. Intercommunal tensions broke out in central Kasai and militias formed against the army. Soon the conflict spread to the other four provinces of the region: Eastern Kasai, Lomami, Kasai and Sankuru. While these five provinces were already among the poorest in the country, the violence of the conflict has exacerbated the situation and multiplied the effects of the health crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of people have had to leave their villages to fly the millions and take refuge in the bush, making their living conditions even more difficult, without access to clean water, healthcare and healthcare. training. In recent months, the displaced people have recently taken advantage of returning home. Problem: After being the 2017 season and losing three consecutive seasons of harvest, they have nothing to eat. The UN also estimates that 224 health centers were robbed, burned or destroyed and 500 schools attacked, requisitions or destroyed.
Problems with access to clean water
In addition to famine, Kasai faces a real health crisis with measles epidemics (9,000 people affected since January 2017) and cholera (4 944 cases reported in four of the five provinces in the region) . UNICEF has, in an effort to respond, vaccinated two million children against measles. 71 500 with serious malnutrition have been taken care since the beginning of 2017.
In addition, therapeutic foods are distributed to malnutrition in health centers and hospitals. Unicef has also begun training mothers and local healthcare professionals on better nutritional practices, especially for children under five years. Among them, compulsory breastfeeding during the child's first six months. With regard to access to safe water, the organization builds and repairs various sources of water and latrines and distributes water purification tablets.