DRC: a youth's story

He's sixteen years-old and tells his story with a very hushed voice. J. is clearly still scared and shocked; probably not yet fully grasping what happened to him two weeks ago.

He and his ten year old brother were in the forest in Nyanzale area when the fighting broke out. "We were caught right in the middle of heavy gunfire. We were really scared and had nowhere to run to. We were literally caught between two groups shooting at each other. Suddenly, there was a heavy blast just next to me. I fell and lost consciousness. When I woke up, my younger brother was screaming. He was fine but was scared about what had happened to me. I felt a really heavy pain on my left arm and looked down to see that it was totally destroyed. My brother ran away."

J. walked out of the forest in the direction of the fighting. He saw armed men who couldn't do anything for him. Local people arrived and took him to MSF health centre in Nyanzale. Then the MSF team transferred him by ambulance to the MSF run Rutshuru hospital.

"When J. arrived at the hospital, he was in really bad shape, explains François, the MSF head of the surgical ward. He had lost a lot of blood, was unconscious and needed an operation right away. The surgeons tried to save his arm or part of his arm but it wasn't possible. The bone was too damaged to be saved."

"When I woke up, says J., I was just scared and sad. I don't know what will happen now. My dad was killed when I was only a kid, my mum left the family to live with another man. I was supposed to take care of them but now, with what has happened to me, I really don't know how. Now, my sister is taking care of me in the hospital. I don' even know if we can go back home."

> Condition: Critical - Voices from the war in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo