Militia attacks and army reprisals have uprooted 1.4 million people in a previously stable region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), waves of violent conflict in the Greater Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have forced more than one million people, including hundreds of thousands of children from their homes.
The lives of hundreds of thousands of children and their families in Greater Kasai have been turned upside down by this brutal violence.
A total of 1.4 million people, including 850,000 children, have been displaced, with at least 60,000 uprooted in the month of June alone.
The deaths are the result of clashes between the army and a rebel group, but civilians have also been caught up in the violence.
Most of the displaced, who have lost or left behind all their essential goods and personal belongings, live now with foster families and relatives in communities that are among the poorest in the country.
A smaller number of displaced families have fled to improvised huts in the bush near their villages. These families are the most vulnerable and least accessible to humanitarian workers. They suffer from lack of adequate food, shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation.
UNICEF and its partners have implemented a cash assistance programme for displaced people that provides households with $100 cash support, which can be used for basic necessities. To date, UNICEF has supported 11,225 households through this programme.
In addition to the cash programme, a flexible multi-sectoral programme called Rapid Response Mechanism pre-positions materials and aid partners to rapidly respond to the needs of displaced populations.
The assistance includes healthcare, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and essential non-food items – such as shelter materials, kitchen utensils, buckets of water, blankets. Some 50,000 households are expected to benefit from this programme over the coming months.
The Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is divided administratively into Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental. It shares its name with the Kasai River.
After the independence of Congo, it seceded for a while under influence of Belgium and became an independent kingdom. After the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Kasai came back to Congo.