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    Posted November 20, 2012 by
    Gisenye, Dem. Rep. of Congo

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    World Vision warns of escalating violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     WorldVision1 aid workers Aimee Manimani and Lawrence Mtimaunenenji photographed displaced families fleeing violence in Gisenye, Democratic Republic of Congo. 'Yesterday, when I heard the sounds of the bombs and mortar, I just got depressed,' said aid worker Manimani. 'I started crying. I couldn’t control myself. I had to leave home again. I started Sunday like any normal day. We went to the 9:00 church and only half of the congregation turned up. By 11:00AM, the United Nations summoned its entire staff to safe compounds.'

    Manimani continued: 'Like most of my Congolese, I feel humiliated by everything that we are forced to go through. I feel disgusted to leave everything behind and flee ... We had a normal life; we could face poverty and many other difficulties, we could manage all with the hope that everything will be fine one day. But now we must flee. Parents and children have to hide under the bed, in the bushes or wherever they would feel safe. Now thousands of parents can’t even protect their children ... this makes me very sad.'
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    As violence erupts in Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC), World Vision warns of serious risk to women and children, where an estimated 200,000 children under the age of 18 are at risk in city of Goma.

    Spontaneous camps for displaced families have been forming around Goma as communities flee to safety. Through its partners, World Vision is receiving reports that in the confusion, children are getting separated from parents – and the implications of this are devastating.


    "The situation in the DRC is getting worse than ever. I've been here for over three years, and have never seen the violence escalate to this level. Women and children are leaving their homes and running for their lives." World Vision National Director Robert Kisyula describes from Giswenye. "You can hear live gunfire from where I'm standing, and there are many children and families that are experiencing this right now."


    Hundreds of thousands of children caught up in erupting violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are at risk of being forcibly recruited into armed groups. UNICEF has estimated as many as 600 are now separated from their families and at risk of serious abuse.


    “We know from the recent practices of the groups involved in this latest fighting that unaccompanied children in this part of DRC are in immediate and real danger of forcible recruitment into armed groups,” said World Vision’s Dominic Keyzer from the border town of Gisenye. Keyzer is the Advocacy Manager for World Vision in the DRC.


    World Vision stands ready to respond, but the fighting has forced the organization to suspend significant, life-saving programs in some areas that are effected by the violence outbreak.


    To learn more, go to www.worldvision.org.

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