The war-torn children living 'on the edge of existence'

Nearly 20 years on from a conflict that killed 5million people and uprooted countless lives, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is once again sliding into chaos.

Distressing scenes are unfolding in the east where resurgent violence between non-state armed groups and government forces reverberate.

A shocking 2.8million people have been displaced across those provinces since March 2022. Among a litany of humanitarian law and human rights violations, civilians are being killed and tortured, while arbitrary arrests, looting of health centres and civilian homes, and the destruction of schools have been reported. 

Photographer Hugh Kinsella Cunningham has been covering the conflict in eastern DRC for the last five years, travelling the country to bear witness to the devastating impact of war on children’s lives.

‘As the Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing one of the most damaging conflicts in the world, these photographs convey the realities of life for civilians on the edge of existence,’ says Hugh, who has been working with Save The Children to document the crisis.

‘Families here are suffering in many different ways. In one province, humanitarians may be reacting to a displacement crisis, and in another region, dealing with malnutrition and disease. As a photojournalist, relating the experiences and emotions of individuals within this huge context is critical.’

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