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
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.