Rwanda: Refugee children die of malnutrition

Children fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are dying of malnutrition at a refugee camp in Rwanda.

More than 10 children have died at Kigeme camp in Western Province. The principal foods available to refugees are unground maize and beans.

Mother Claudine Furaha, who lives at the camp, says the diet is fine for adults but is causing problems for children.

“Some of the children that are too young to try the maize have started dying,” she says.

Her assessment is confirmed by camp manager Emanuel Niyibaho.

“These refugees were cattle keepers back in the DRC. Their children were used to drinking milk,” he says.

“The change and the new uncomfortable living conditions are greatly affecting them, especially those under 5.”

Currently the camp accommodates more than 10,500 refugees; about 65 per cent of them are children. 

A World Vision team is assessing how it can provide nutritional support for children and sanitation to the camp.

The conflict between government troops and armed rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has intensified in recent weeks displacing more than 470,000 people.

More than 19,000 have fled to Rwanda and more than 30,000 to Uganda.

With reporting by Martin Tindiwensi, a World Vision Rwanda communications officer.