Hun­dreds of thou­sands Con­golese chil­dren on brink of star­va­tion, UN warns

Con­golese chil­dren bear the brunt of the on­go­ing ten­sion and face star­va­tion, the U.N. said while warn­ing of im­pend­ing catas­tro­phe in the con­flict-hit re­gion of the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Regional -

HUN­DREDS of thou­sands of chil­dren in cen­tral Ka­sai re­gion are likely to die in the com­ing months if food aid is not de­liv­ered to them soon, World Food Pro­gram (WFP) and re­gional of­fi­cials warned Sun­day.

WFP Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor David Beasley termed the sit­u­a­tion in Ka­sai as "ap­palling." He said the WFP cur­rently only has 1 per­cent of the fund­ing it needs to help peo­ple in Ka­sai and warned that if noth­ing is not done within a few weeks, the sit­u­a­tion will be­come ter­ri­ble with thou­sands of chil­dren dy­ing from hunger.

"The sit­u­a­tion in Ka­sai is des­per­ate. We need help, and we need it right now. Sev­eral hun­dred thou­sand chil­dren will die in the next few months, if we don't get funds to buy food,'' he warned. He added on that ac­cord­ing to the body's re­search team which re­turned re­cently from Ka­sai, many chil­dren there have died al­ready.

Ka­sai re­gional Health In­spec­tor Robert Kale con­curred with the as­sess­ment. Kale told Anadolu Agency par­ents at in­ter­nally-dis­placed peo­ple's camps in Ka­sai did not have enough food to feed their chil­dren.

"Thou­sands of chil­dren in Ka­sai re­gion are mal­nour­ished. The par­ents are not in­volved in grow­ing food due to in­se­cu­rity and or­ga­ni­za­tions that give them food pro­vide them with lit­tle food," he said. He added there was an ur­gent need to pro­vide food to the dis­placed peo­ple and their chil­dren to avoid a catas­tro­phe in the near fu­ture.

Chaos in Ka­sai re­gion has been sim­mer­ing for months, with thou­sands of peo­ple dead and in­jured. The spate of vi­o­lence started last year in Au­gust when po­lice killed the leader of Ka­muina Ns­apu mili­ti­a­men, also called Ka­muina Ns­apu. Af­ter the death of their leader, the mili­ti­a­men launched at­tacks on po­lice, army and civil­ians in Ka­sai. The Catholic church in DRC re­cently said more than 3,000 peo­ple have been killed and thou­sands oth­ers dis­placed due to clashes.

Congo will not have the help of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity if elections are not held in 2018, the U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions said last Fri­day as she neared the end of a three­na­tion Africa visit.

Nikki Ha­ley's re­marks came af­ter her meet­ing with the pres­i­dent of Congo's elec­tion com­mis­sion in Kin­shasa.

"If the elections are not or­ga­nized in 2018, the DRC can­not count on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. It is im­por­tant that the elections be held in 2018," she said, re­fer­ring to the coun­try's full name of the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo.

Ha­ley was ex­pected to re­peat the mes­sage dur­ing a meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila be­fore re­turn­ing to the U.S. Congo has seen wide­spread anger over Ka­bila's stay in power af­ter his man­date ended in De­cem­ber and the elec­tion was de­layed. The head of Congo's elec­tion com­mis­sion has said the pres­i­den­tial vote can­not take place un­til 2019 de­spite a deal struck with the op­po­si­tion that it would oc­cur this year. He cited deadly vi­o­lence in cen­tral Congo's Ka­sai re­gion for the de­lay. Ha­ley came to Africa to see U.S. and United Na­tions in­volve­ment in Ethiopia, South Su­dan and Congo.

A mal­nour­ished child gets mea­sured in a clinic treat­ing cases of se­vere mal­nour­ish­ment in the restive cen­tral re­gion of Ka­sai, the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Oct. 26.

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