Kinshasa — ANGOLA has deported over 80 000 youngsters during a mass expulsion of Congolese refugees and migrants.
Among the affected children are 162 minors who are unaccompanied. They are victims of a campaign of deportations characterised by ethnic violence and destruction of migrants' homes.
"These children are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance," said Christophe Boulierac, spokesperson of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Boulierac said some of the children were suffering from hypoglycaemia, a low blood sugar condition.
"There might be an increase of malnutrition, acute malnutrition, which makes a child more vulnerable to all kinds of disease," the envoy warned.
The concern by UNICEF follows warnings the forcible mass deportation of some 300 000 migrants from the DRC had resulted in "serious human rights violations by security forces on both sides of the border.
Authorities are also wary of a resurgence of epidemics linked to the new arrivals, who are crowded into churches and markets in small border towns, mostly Kamako in the province of Kasai.
Illnesses including cholera and malaria are already endemic in the violence-torn DRC.
UNICEF has appealed for $3 million (about R44 million) to fund its immediate response to returnee children and their families.
UN also needs as additional $6 million (R88 million) to support the resettlement of returned populations to their home or host areas.
Thousands of Congolese have fled turmoil in their country and settled in Angola.
The Angolan government argued the expulsions affect undocumented migrants.