DR Congo conflict displaces about 78,000 children

Friday February 09 2024

Displaced people seen in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Goma in North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo on February 8, 2024. PHOTO | XINHUA


Escalating violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has forced at least about 78,000 children to flee their homes in the past week, with thousands now on the road to Goma, the capital of the eastern province of North Kivu, global charity Save the Children said on Thursday via a statement.

The renewed fighting between the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) and rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23), a non-state armed group, has displaced at least 150,000 people, more than half of them children, since February 2, 2024.

Parents have reported that many children have been separated in the violence although the number of lost children remains unknown, said the statement.

Read: Thousands flee as conflict intensifies in East DRC

The use of artillery, drones, and explosives in Eastern DRC is killing and injuring civilians and damaging and destroying essential infrastructure, said Save the Children.

According to local media sources, 19 people have been killed and 27 others injured in the violence, including three young girls. A market was hit on February 7, and munitions also landed inside a school courtyard and close to a hospital, as all schools in the area remain closed.


Save the Children has worked in the DRC since 1994 to meet humanitarian needs linked to the arrival of refugees and the displacement of populations due to armed conflict in eastern provinces.

Read: Fighting flares in DRC, civilians killed

Save the Children has scaled up its humanitarian response to support existing care systems, training local leaders and communities to prevent and respond to exploitation and abuse, and ensuring access to healthcare through mobile clinics. It is also helping children access basic education by building classrooms, training teachers, and distributing learning materials.