The Australian Government is deeply concerned about the recent outbreak of violence and fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The humanitarian situation in the region has deteriorated significantly following an increase in violence in late October leading to worsening malnutrition, a lack of safe water, increased attacks against women and restricted humanitarian access. Nearly 250,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.
The Australian Government has responded to the crisis by providing a significant humanitarian contribution of $5 million for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Australia will give $3 million to be allocated between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. These funds will be used for food and nutrition, non-food items, protection of women and children, medical supplies and coordination of humanitarian activities. Australia will also provide $1 million to Australian non-government organisations for existing operations focusing on water and sanitation, hygiene, protection and essential non-food items.
Of the remaining $1 million the World Health Organisation and UNICEF will each receive $500,000. The funding of these agencies will allow for the immediate needs of those adversely affected by the violence, in particular, food, health, water and the protection of women.
Australia's desire to assist is both a reflection of our desire to be a good international citizen and of the government's view that Australia needs to enhance its commitment and engagement with the countries of Africa.