Democratic Republic of the Congo: Children reunited with families
20-05-2003 News Release 03/58
ICRC delegates based in the eastern Congolese city of Goma last week reunited 43 unaccompanied children with their families, some living in the eastern part of the country and others in the west.
In what has become a monthly reunification flight, the organization’s DC-3 left Goma for Kinshasa on 14 May with 29 children aboard. The next day, it returned to Goma, this time with 14 young passengers. The children, aged between four and 18 years, had been separated from their parents for months, in some cases years.
Last week’s operation, in which the children’s desire to take part was carefully verified beforehand, was organized with the help of volunteers from the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was the last flight in the ICRC’s current programme to reunite unaccompanied children with their families.
The ICRC endeavours to trace missing children or the families of children who have been found unaccompanied. This is a complicated task in a country racked by years of warfare. When it is successful, the two are brought together wherever in the country the family is living, whether in an area under control of the government or the armed opposition.
Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has reunited over 350 children with their families.
Further information: Juan Martinez, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 79 217 32 17