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Emergency shelter for women & kids | by Julien Harneis
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Emergency shelter for women & kids

Fighting in North Kivu is threatening the lives of children. Tens of thousands of children have been displaced in the last weeks, in the confusion of flight children have been separated from their parents. Already malnourished children are now even more vulnerable. In the crowded makeshift camps measles and cholera are growing dangers. Thousands of children are unable to start the school year. Armed groups are using at least a 1000 children and more are being recruited.

UNICEF, through a network of partners, is assisting 60,000 people around Muganga and Minova in the Kivus. UNICEF is identifying separated children and reunifying them with their families. Rape survivors are being given medical and psychosocial support. Clean water distribution and latrines have been set up. Displaced families have received temporary shelter materials, bedding and cooking sets. All children under the age of 14 are being vaccinated against measles and pregnant women against neo natal tetanus. 2000 children have been screened for malnutrition. Emergency education programmes have started.

UNICEFs partners are AVSI, Caritas, the International Rescue Committee, Heal Africa, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children UK, Solidarités, World Vision International and the provincial health service of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

UNICEF has assisted 350,000 displaced persons since the start of fighting in Sake last November. UNICEFs actions are part of a coordinated response with other UN organizations; Office Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, World Food Programme, World Health Organisation & The Mission of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Despite all this the majority of displaced persons remain inaccessible due to the fighting. UNICEF calls upon all parties to the conflict to; protect the rights of children, end the recruitment of children and ensure humanitarian access to all displaced persons.

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Taken on September 9, 2007