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2008.02.20

* Millions dead, injured as conflicts continue in Democratic Republic of Congo
* 03 min 06 secs
* 08 Feb 2008

Crippled not by age but war, soldiers broke her legs, raped her and killed all her family. Evelyn will never be the same.

This silent emergency -- the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- has killed more than any other conflict since the Second World War. Five million have died in seven years not only by bullets but by hunger, withered children weakened, unable to fight diseases . . . These are the real killers of children – cholera, malaria, measles, and just not having a home.
In this classroom outside Goma, eastern DR Congo every child has their own war story to tell, orphaned, or wounded, living through their nightmares, waiting for their families to be found.

SOUNDBITE (Swahili): Rachelle, Student  “My mother and older brother went to look for food and when they got to the top of the hill, the rebels started shooting at them, then they tried to rape my mother”

Just ten years old Rachelle has had to become a mother to her little brother, making this tiny shelter their home. For more than a year now these two children have been utterly alone.

SOUNDBITE (English): Dr Joe Lusi, Surgeon, HEAL Africa
“The children have paid a very high price, they are born, most of them are dying of rare diseases, and illiterate, they haven’t gone to school, and the war, let us say it is really a bad thing.”

Not far away young Habimana is not yet back in school. Since the recent peace conference the UN blue helmets are out in force here. The date on the black board remains untouched since soldiers ransacked this place, cleaning out the clinic, looting the medicines, taking eight of his school mates.

SOUNDBITE (French): Pascale, Student
“We fled when the bandits came through here and looted the school, they took our books and pens and everything, and they took some of the children by force… they raped my big sister and left.”

All he wants now is just to get back into his studies and peace is not far from his thoughts.

SOUNDBITE (French): Pascale, Student  “I do hope that one of these days soon we will have peace.”



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