Kinshasa — AS many as 700 000 children could starve in the conflict-torn Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) unless food aid is secured. The head of the United Nations World Food Programme, David Beasley, warned this was one of the humanitarian catastrophes looming in the area. "We need access to those children, and we need money urgently," he said at the conclusion of his tour of the Central African country. Some 3,2 million people in the Kasai are severely food insecure, struggling to feed themselves and in need of assistance. Kasai's traditionally high rates of malnutrition were pushed higher following the eruption last year of inter-ethnic violence characterised by large-scale killing, the wholesale destruction of villages and crops, and the targeting of hospitals, clinics and schools. The region now accounts for more than 40 percent of the DRC's 7,7 million severely food insecure. WFP is also concerned at the crisis in the eastern North Kivu province after two decades of conflict. Over 250 000 people of the province's 1 million are displaced. Beasley urged beleaguered President Joseph Kabila to "do his part to bring about much-needed change." The conflicts have worsened after Kabila hung to power at the expiry of his mandate late last year.
Congo-Brazzaville: Starvation Threatens Thousands of Congolese Children
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