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Congo: Children choose sex work to quench rising hunger.

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Hunger has doubled in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a year, with 15 million people in need of food aid, pushing children into sex work and mining, charities said on Tuesday.



Many farmers are too scared to tend their fields in northeastern Congo, where some of the worst fighting in years has forced 750,000 people to flee their homes so far in 2018, said the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

“Women and girls are going into prostitution and selling their bodies for food or selling their bodies for money to buy food,” Kimberly Bennett, an NRC spokeswoman told the Media by phone from Goma.

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Boys and young men are joining armed groups so that they can eat, she added.

Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces have been a tinder box of armed rebellion and ethnic killing since two civil wars in the late 1990s.

About 8 million children in the Congo are malnourished, according to the United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF, causing growth stunting, mental retardation and death.

“Farmers are so hungry (that) they’ve actually taken to eating the seeds we’re distributing (instead of planting them),” said Bennett.

Congo – often regarded as one of the world’s most neglected humanitarian crises – is also experiencing its tenth outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, which has killed 130 people since July.

In north-eastern Congo, some people complain that Ebola vaccines are readily available, while many lack basic shelter and food, she said.

“The Ebola response is at the level that it needs to be,” said Yves Willemot, a spokesman for UNICEF in the Congo.

“But other issues also need attention,” he said, pointing to increases in polio, measles and cholera.

Just over a quarter of the 1.7 billion dollars sought in a humanitarian appeal for Congo this year has been delivered, said Bennett.

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Motherland News

Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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