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Democratic Republic of the Congo: Together again

02-09-2003 News Release 03/104

The ICRC completed a series of operations on 28 August between the east and west of the country to reunite 94 unaccompanied children with their families.

Between 17 and 28 August, an ICRC DC-3 made six flights between Goma and the capital Kinshasa, transporting a total of 94 children (82 from Goma to Kinshasa and 12 in the other direction). Prior to these flights, Red Cross staff had ensured that the children involved were properly registered and making the trip of their own free will.

The children were aged between 11 months and 18 years; almost half were less than 13 years old. Among them was five-year-old Loleka, the youngest of eight children, who was orphaned shortly after birth. She was given into the care of her aunt in Kinshasa, who had made a tracing request two years ago, which resulted in Loleka being found in Kalemie, in northern Katanga. This is an example of the achievements of a tracing system that regularly finds missing persons sought by their loved ones and forwards Red Cross messages back and forth between people and relatives separated by the fighting.

In all, 650 Congolese children have been reunited with their families this year. Almost 2,000 are still waiting their turn.

 Further information: Elizabeth Twinch, ICRC Goma, tel. ++250 0830 0461