Hundreds of women and girls sexually assaulted in Goma

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A woman and her baby take shelter at Don Bosco Orphanage in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nearly 400 women and girls were sexually assaulted in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo during the recent fighting for the control of the strategic town of Goma.

The United Nations Children's fund UNICEF says care has been provided to more than 275 women and 100 girls who were victims of sexual violence.

The organization says women and girls in the displacement camps are living in constant fear of being attacked or sexually molested.

UNICEF says it was working round the clock to reunite over 750 children who were separated from their families during the chaos and mass displacement that followed the fighting.

Marixie Mercado is UNICEF spokesperson in Geneva.

"Our child protection partners have reunited 84 children with their families through a very strong decentralized community network. These children are particularly at risk, they have no money so they go out into the surrounding areas sometimes at night to find wood to sell and this puts these girls at extremely high risk of sexual assault and boys at risk of recruitment. The risk of disease outbreak is also increasing. In North Kivu there has been over 650 measles cases which is six times more than in December last year. Despite this insecurity some 27,000 displaced children have been vaccinated in a joint campaign with the ministry of health, Merlin, Médecins Sans Frontières. That said cholera cases continue to rise as well."

UNICEF says it was unable to distribute over 1,000 tons of relief items to the displaced in parts of North Kivu province due to increased insecurity.

Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio Geneva.

Duration 1.40″

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