“Water is back on in the town thanks to UNICEF. 50 malnourished children are being fed with high protein supplements by UNICEF, they like many others have lost their parents, some to the fighting, and some to the general chaos.”
BUNIA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, 21 May 2003 - Since Sunday, 11 May when UNICEF and partners began the first airlift of emergency humanitarian aid into Bunia to assist, UNICEF has been moving swiftly to ensure the safety and protection of children:
• In the early stages, UNICEF airlifted emergency medical and surgical supplies for the establishment and operation of an emergency clinic and eventual field operation room in collaboration with local health workers and ECHO. Hundreds of injured have been treated.
“Malnourished children are all over the place in the camps and in the town, kids everywhere, the place is streaming with them. There is nothing for them to do, no schools working, it's a terrible scene.”
• High Protein biscuits and plastic sheeting were airlifted within hours from Goma and Kampala, and were later distributed to approximately 10,000 displaced civilians by MONUC officers and COOPI.
• A protection specialist has been mobilized to start the identification of un-identified minors and to assist in setting up a transit centre to re-unite lost children with their families.
“Mave Djangusi is 13, is alone in the makeshift hospital, her mother and sister were both killed and Mave's left arm has been badly hacked with a machete. Her father is around but he has lost half his face, slashed with a machete. Mave is sitting in a crowd of old people and soldiers.”
• Emergency water bladders for 40,000 were installed, along with water purification products in collaboration with Oxfam. Latrines and other water and sanitation measures as well as repairs to sabotaged water systems are also under way.
• Two water distribution points have been set up at the displaced camps located at the MONUC headquarters and airport, run by UNICEF partner OXFAM.
“The situation is very tense, a mine took a man's leg off in the main market yesterday, causing the general level of fear to spread further throughout Bunia.”
• UNICEF with its partner COOPI established two emergency therapeutic feeding centres in Bunia. The centres were supplied with feeding kits, medicines, nutritional materials, therapeutic food, and Oral Re-Hydration Salts.
• An emergency cholera treatment centre has been established and equipped by UNICEF.
For further information, please contact:
Marc Vergara, UNICEF Geneva, Tel: (41) 022 909 5513
Communication Section, Kinshasa: Tel (00243 )88 4674/(00243) 880 3007
Gordon Weiss, UNICEF New York, Tel: ++ 212 326-7426