AFRICA/DR CONGO - Wars, violence, famines, ebola and now coronavirus: Congolese children increasingly at risk; the testimony of a missionary

Tuesday, 30 June 2020 childhood   violence   ebola   coronavirus   missionaries  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The ruthless picture that portrays the condition of Congolese children, making it emerge as one of the most worrying in the world, comes from UNICEF. The decades of war and political instability, endemic poverty (of a Country with infinite resources), the continuous exodus of tens of thousands of families, epidemics, worsen the situation of the most vulnerable people, in particular children who pay the highest price. A hundred complaints of serious violations of children's rights have already reached the United Nations agency since the beginning of the year, while of the 200,000 people fleeing since January, the vast majority are minors. "While the whole world, including Congo, was struggling with the coronavirus - Gaspare Di Vincenzo, a Comboni missionary in Butembo, north Kivu, tells Fides - here the war continued undisturbed, and is worsening. From the areas of North Kivu and Ituri there are news of massacres: the militias camped on the border with Uganda are destroying everything and taking possession of houses and lands in that area. At the moment there are 2500 families who have found refuge here with us in Butembo, they are hosted by local families in situations, as you can imagine, of extreme precariousness. We Comboni Missionaries try to provide basic necessities thanks also to the help that comes from Italy. Caritas is in difficulty and is unable to intervene. Obviously, as UNICEF denounces, children are the first who pay a high price. In addition to having lost family members and witnessing violence, they suffer from severe malnutrition. We have fifty orphans and street children here, but the situation of children in our country is dramatic".
The condition of children, however, is not the only recent bad news. "Congo is also dealing with the coronavirus (6700 cases, 153 deaths, ed) and confinement is causing enormous damage to the already fragile economy. We hope that the outbreak will be contained immediately, otherwise it will be another tragedy". (L.A.) (Agenzia Fides, 30/6/2020)