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Thousands emerge from hiding in DRC war

Story from: CAJ News Africa

DRC warFrom JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THOUSANDS of people that are coming out of hiding in bushes a year after conflict are in dire need of aid in the rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In the worst-affected region of Kasai, there are alarming levels of malnutrition among young children, indicating the severity of this neglected crisis.
In some towns and villages where people had returned to their homes after hiding for months in the surrounding forests, 10 percent of young children suffered severe acute malnutrition, which is a humanitarian emergency.
Gabriel Sanchez, the operational manager of Doctors Without Borders, said the Kasai crisis had been completely neglected.
“People returning to their villages and towns have been left on their own to rebuild destroyed homes and start cultivating crops again, often without proper tools and with their traditional sources of income severely affected.”
Doctors Without Borders has treated almost 1 000 children under 5 years old for severe acute malnutrition in Tshikapa, the capital of Kasai.
Victims have been treated for violence-related injuries and sexual assault.
While humanitarian aid has reached Tshikapa and Kananga, almost no assistance has arrived elsewhere.
In the wake of the violence, many local health centres are barely functioning.
Half of the health centers have been looted, burnt or destroyed.
“They are slowly resuming activities but they are desperately short of skilled health staff, medicines and essential equipment,” Sanchez added.
CAJ News

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