(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

ICRC reunites 47 children with their families

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reunited 47 children with their families last week in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the ICRC reported on Friday.

On Thursday 25 October, the ICRC flew 22 unaccompanied children from the DRC capital, Kinshasa, to the opposition-held city of Goma in the east of the country. The children, separated from their families since fighting restarted in August 1998, were taken home in an ICRC-chartered aircraft.

The day before, 25 children aged between 5 and 15 years made the trip in the opposite direction - from Goma to Kinshasa - where they were reunited with their families.

Since January 2001, the ICRC has reunited 283 unaccompanied Congolese children with their families, both in areas under government control and in regions controlled by the armed opposition. It is planning two more operations to reunite families before the end of the year.

Family reunification movements are also taking place between the DRC and other countries in the Great Lakes region. This year, 487 Rwandan children and eight from Burundi have returned to their home countries and been reunited with their families.

"Split families are among the most tragic human consequences of any armed conflict. With the aid of the Red Cross Society of the DRC, the ICRC is working incessantly to reunite unaccompanied children with their parents - or with relatives who can look after them," the ICRC said.

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