Number of children orphaned or left unaccompanied by Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo rising fast


"The number of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who have been orphaned or left unaccompanied due to the Ebola epidemic has more than doubled since April, requiring a rapid ramp-up of specialized care in the Ebola-hit provinces of Ituri and North Kivu," according to this press release from UNICEF. For those children who are separated from their parents or caregivers while they undergo treatment for the disease, UNICEF has established nurseries "where Ebola survivors, who are immune to the disease, care for and closely monitor infants and very young children until their parents or caregivers have completed treatment." For those who have lost parents, psychosocial support workers are working on the ground to place these children with foster families or close relatives, "no easy task given the economic burden of raising extra children and the pervasive fear of catching the disease or being associated with it. It often requires delicate mediation as well as financial support for food, school fees and other basic necessities. The nature of the support is determined by the most pressing needs of each child or family."