November 10 2008
SOS Children's Villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo take safety measures
10/11/2008 - Even though the fighting is currently limited to the region of North Kivu, hundreds of kilometres from the SOS Children's Villages in Bukavu and Uvira, both sites are preparing for possible emergencies.
In the region of South Kivu, where Bukavu and Uvira are located, the situation is calm but tense and there are fears that the fighting might spread southwards. Both SOS Children's Villages have repeatedly been affected by fighting in the past, which is why certain safety measures have been taken.
Staff at the SOS Children's Villages have asked the local authorities to step up security measures, particularly around the SOS Children's Village in Bukavu. Meanwhile, all children and young people have been instructed not to leave the grounds of the SOS Children's Village after 6 p.m. When their lessons end, pupils at the SOS schools are also to stay in their classrooms until their parents come to pick them up.
Both SOS Children's Villages are stocking up on basic foodstuffs and other important goods so that they have supplies to last a month. In addition to that, both sites have been provided with first aid kits. The doctors at the SOS Medical Centres have been given special badges like those that medical support teams in conflict areas wear so that they can be identified to provide help quickly and smoothly.
Marthe Kangene, the director of SOS Children's Villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says that an evacuation of the two SOS Children's Villages would not be feasible in an emergency for a number of reasons, i.e. that the escape routes would not be safe and it would not be clear where and how the many children, mothers and staff members should be taken.