Brazzaville/ Dakar, 27 July 2017- One out of five children under the age of five years-old from the Pool and Bouenza departments are currently displaced and face rapidly increasing risks of severe acute malnutrition, as ongoing unrest has left over 138,000 people in need of urgent assistance.
“The crisis for children is escalating exponentially,” said Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, UNICEF’s Representative in the Republic of Congo. “UNICEF and other humanitarian actors need immediate funding to provide clean water, health care, treatment for malnutrition, food and protect children from current violence in the Pool department.”
Since April 2016, in the aftermath of presidential elections, the Pool department has been rocked by several attacks on government forces and civilians with escalating violence pushing more than 80,000 people out of their homes and creating a humanitarian crisis. During the past 12 months, the number of people displaced has increased six fold from 13,000 in June 2016, to over 81,000 in May 2017.
“This crisis has been growing since April 2016 and deteriorated during the last three months,” said Kamuragiye. “We are now seeing the effects on children more clearly. Families have left their homes and are coming to cities and towns looking for safety, but without enough support, these children living in improvised settlements are more and more vulnerable.”
Food security and growing concerns over malnutrition are the most urgent humanitarian needs in the crisis. A lack of access to drinking water supplies and basic sanitation structures constitute a high risk factor for children vulnerable to diarrhea and other diseases.
As the needs of children increase, UNICEF is scaling up its ongoing response in providing health care, education, clean water, nutrition, sanitation and child protection services using existing limited resources. UNICEF and partners have launched a Humanitarian Response Plan calling for USD $23.7 million to meet the basic needs of families in distress.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, please visit www.unicef.org