“We fled while we were being shot at”
Mother of nine struggles to cope with the harsh reality of displacement caused by recent fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
In the northern part of the city of Goma, Nyiranzaba Kahumba, 35, clutches her two-week-old baby Uwezo. Nyiranzaba took shelter in a tent at the Kanyaruchinya internally displaced people site with her nine children and her husband. The large family fled their village in the Rutshuru territory following recent fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The mother of nine is one of thousands of displaced people who have arrived in Goma over the last week. Numerous makeshift camps containing flimsy shelters have been hastily erected to accommodate the huge number of new arrivals. "The tent is so small that sometimes my older children sleep outside to leave space for the younger ones," Nyiranzaba says.
Nyiranzaba and her husband fled when their home was attacked by armed men, forcing them to abandon their village and walk about 70 kilometers to find safety with their children. “We arrived here with nothing. When it rains at night, we all get wet. I don’t know how to feed the children or find fresh water here,” Nyiranzaba explains.
The camp where Nyiranzaba lives is in the precincts of a school and there are only three toilets for thousands of people who now live there. As more displaced people continue to arrive every day, the threat of cholera is growing and poses a significant risk to displaced families, most of whom can only eat once a day.
The latest fighting is having a devastating impact on children and their families. UNICEF and partners are providing access to safe water and sanitation, child protection, essential emergency household goods, medicine, nutrition and emergency education to families as they move to safer locations.