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(ANS – Goma) – The humanitarian situation in North Kivu has seriously deteriorated in the last months, following new outbreaks of fighting. In these circumstances the Don Bosco Centre in Goma-Ngangi has been taking in refugee children, once again the first to pay the price for the violence.
The recent fighting in the Congolese region of North Kivu, is mainly between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Militias of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) commanded by General Bosco Ntaganda – against whom the International Court has issued a warrant for crimes against humanity.
The conflict has international dimensions: the CNPD militias are deserters from the Regular army in which they were incorporated after a peace agreement in 2009. However, the main cause of the conflict is about control of the vastly rich region of North Kivu, in which forces from Rwanda and Uganda are involved.
As civilians flee for the war zones they head for the city of Goma (20,000 persons registered since 29 April), for Ruanda (over 8,000 refugees since 27 April) and Uganda (30,000 refugees in May).
The Maison Ushindi, in the Don Bosco Centro in Goma, has welcomed 9 babies (between 4 months and 3 years old), 7 of them suffering from malnutrition coming from the camp in Mugunga I on the outskirts of Goma. The Maison Ushindi already had 70 babies and so it was necessary to re-organise the daily programme of the helpers in the house.
To cope with the new arrivals, those in charge of the Centre are looking for more help from Associations and the NGO, to provide food, milk, and medicine and to obtain more personnel.
At the Don Bosco Centre in Ngangi, working with the Salesians and lay helpers from International Voluntary Service for Development (VIS), there is also an expert team of nutritionists and nurses. The seriously undernourished children arriving at the Centre need the constant medical and psychological assistance they receive from the dedicated staff in spite of the very difficult conditions.
The VIS volunteers at present are also coordinating the activities of assessing the refugee camps in Mugunga I, managing the care of the undernourished babies and that of the former child soldiers in the Salesian Centre.