Every day, for a month, 370 people, 80% of them women and children, were crossing the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, seeking safety from an escalating conflict in the Kivu region of the country.
They were arriving tired, scared, hungry and traumatized, often separated from their families. What greeted them were already cramped refugee camps, housing close to 1.4 million refugees, close to two thirds of whom are children.
They report having fled attacks against civilians, arbitrary killings, rape, abductions, looting and forced recruitment into armed groups. The conflict, which has ravaged the whole country for more than a year, has left 4 million people displaced from their homes.
“There is a need to respond to the needs of children in particular due to the risk of adverse effects on their growth and development,” says Rachel Logel-Carmichael, Head of Humanitarian Affairs with Save the Children. The agency accessed $300,000 from the Canadian Humanitarian Fund (CHAF) to respond to this latest surge of displaced people in the country.
“Thanks to this funding, we will be able to reach more than 3,300 people, including 1,800 children. Increasing children’s access to safe, steady and nurturing interactions and environments not only meet immediate needs but also reduce the occurrence of disease later in life.”
Save the Children is setting up education centres and child friendly spaces, where children have access to psychosocial support, health and hygiene interventions and safe places to learn and play.
This new project is similar to one Save the Children implemented in the Kasai region last year, also funded through the CHAF.
The Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund is a unique disaster response initiative financed by Global Affairs Canada, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies.