Geneva/Kinshasa (ICRC) – Beginning today, 52 children under the age of 17 will be rejoining relatives after being separated from them for several months. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and volunteers from the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had to go to great lengths and undertake extensive research to find the children's families, who were scattered throughout the country.
"The children – 22 boys and 30 girls – have been living without their parents for many months because of the conflicts in certain parts of the country. Most of them became lost as they fled their villages," said Veronika Hinz Gugliuzza, who coordinates the ICRC's tracing services in the country. "After establishing their identities we placed them temporarily in centres or with foster families until we located their families. It's a great joy for all our staff to be able to lead them back to their homes today."
The youths will be taken home aboard two ICRC aircraft carrying out flights over several days and travelling thousands of kilometres in several provinces – Kinshasa, North Kivu, Eastern, Katanga and Maniema – in the east and west of the country.
Throughout the year, the ICRC has continued its efforts to enable members of dispersed families to find each other. In all, 626 children have rejoined their families, while 520 others are still awaiting their return home in transit centres or in host families across the country.
For further information, please contact:
Patrick Megevand, ICRC Kinshasa, tel: +243 81 700 85 36
Marie-Servane Desjonquères, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 574 06 36