Congo: UNICEF Humanitarian Appeal for Children and Women: Jan-Dec 2000



  • Suffered two wars since June 1997
  • 610,000 people remain internally displaced (of a total population of 2.9 million)
  • 60 per cent of national means of food production destroyed
  • Famine commonplace in the southern areas
  • 30 per cent of returnees suffer from severe malnutrition
  • Half of the national health centres destroyed
  • Severe lack of medicine
  • 5,000 victims of sexual violence
  • Children aged 9-14 years were recruited by warring factions
  • Basic education has been interrupted in war-affected areas, including Brazzaville


  • Ensure that the basic health and nutritional needs of internally displaced women and children are met upon their return and in accessible areas of displacement;
  • Ensure access of internally displaced and war-affected children to basic education;
  • Facilitate the reintegration of unaccompanied and traumatized children through the provision of care and counselling;
  • Improve the living condition of internally displaced persons (IDP) sites and provide assistance for reinstallation upon return and in accessible areas of displacement.


Health and nutrition
Primary education
Protection of children
Shelter and resettlement


The Republic of the Congo (ROC) has suffered through two wars since 1997. A sustainable solution to this deep-rooted conflict has yet to emerge. Insecurity continues in affected regions, where there is little law and order or civilian rule.

Of the 810,000 persons who were displaced since December 1998, 610,000 remain internally displaced, the majority in forested and other rural areas. Some 200,000 urban dwellers have returned to Brazzaville and the towns of Dolisie and Nkayi, while another 30,000 remain refugees in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Gabon.

Most agricultural production has virtually come to a halt, and food imports have been cut off at the same time. Most public services such as health posts have also completely stopped. Access to deliver humanitarian assistance was mainly restricted to Brazzaville and the relatively secure town of Pointe Noire until mid-1999. Little of the interior of the country was accessible for international or national humanitarian agencies due to lack of security.

While oil exports and a share of forestry exports were not affected by the war, the damage to the rest of the economy was enormous. The four most-affected regions - Pool, Bouenza, Niari and Lekoumou - contain an important part of the country's population and a large share of agricultural and other production. In many areas crops were not harvested due to ongoing fighting.

The civil war and the ongoing confrontation in some parts of the country have resulted in the perpetration of serious human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. These human rights abuses include extrajudicial and summary executions, disappearances, rape, arbitrary arrests and detention and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity.

Surveys of the first returnees reveal that the majority of IDPs currently resettling in Brazzaville are malnourished, with severe malnutrition rates of children under-five as high as 30 per cent. It remains uncertain how many IDPs were too weak to travel to an urban centre.

The Government of the Republic of the Congo is gradually reassuming many of its responsibilities. The international humanitarian community enjoys excellent relations with various government institutions, especially the Ministry of Health and Humanitarian Action. Key issues such as improving humanitarian access and enhancing national capacity are main topics of discussion.


In the previous Consolidated Appeal (CAP), intended to cover the period of July to December 1999, UNICEF requested $2 million and had as of end September received only $600,000 - the highest contribution received by any of the UN Agencies under the Interagency Consolidated Appeal. The entire amount received was utilized for primary health and nutrition interventions, including vaccinations.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a key role in the provision of humanitarian assistance. UNICEF collaborates closely with them, particularly the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on sexual violence and nutritional support issues; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on health and epidemic control; the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) on sanitation; the International Conference of Catholic Churches (CARITAS)/ Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on reintegration of IDPs and nutritional support; Action Contre la Faim (ACF) on emergency nutritional support and the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM) on water and sanitation issues, as well as several others. Some national NGOs are also active and their role is expected to increase.


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