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988,629

June 7, 2009

This is the figure of IDPs in North Kivu estimated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). You can check the file here.

Nine hundred eighty eight thousand six hundred and twenty nine men, women and children living in deplorable conditions. Most of them without access to humanitarian assistance of any kind: no food, no water and sanitation, no plastic sheetings. Nothing.

988,629. Higher than the population of Detroit.

988,629. Higher than the population of Marseille.

988,629. Almost equal to the population of Birmingham.

70,661 of these IDPs live here in Goma. Very few of the rest are assisted  in Masisi, Lubero, Walikale or Rutshuru.

Many IDPs keep on coming from Walilkale towards Goma. And many of those who decide to return do not go back to their place of origin, but to a place close enough to their home, where they wait and see. That was the case of an old man I met in a camp two weeks ago.

The Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita recently published a set of great photos of IDPs in Goma.

The worst of all is that all these men, women and children are almost completely forgotten by the rest of the world. The conflict does not make the headlines, no matter what may happen.

A few days ago, a three-year-old girl from South Kivu was victim of a brutal rape by armed men and died as a result of injuries. I think this is important news. I would like to find it in the websites of the main world newspapers. But it is not there, and I don´t understand why. Maybe editors consider this degree of barbarism too much for their sites.

Or maybe they simply think it´s not interesting.

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