SITUATION AT A GLANCE
19.6 MILLION Estimated Population in Need of Assistance UN – January 2021
19.6 MILLION Estimated Acutely Food Insecure Population IPC – September 2020
5.5 MILLION Estimated Number of IDPs in the DRC UN – December 2020
942,000 Estimated Number of Congolese Refugees Sheltering Abroad UNHCR – January 2021
490,000 Estimated Number of Refugees Sheltering in the DRC UNHCR – January 2021
The DRC MoH confirmed a resurgence of EVD on February 6 after health actors confirmed a new EVD case in North Kivu.
Unknown armed actors attacked a convoy in North Kivu on February 22, resulting in the death of the Italian Ambassador to the DRC, a member of the Ambassador’s security detail, and a WFP driver.
OCHA released the 2021 DRC HRP on January 29, requesting approximately $1.98 billion to assist 9.6 million people in need.
MoH Confirms New EVD Cases in North Kivu
The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (GoDRC) Ministry of Health (MoH) has confirmed eight new Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases across three health zones in eastern DRC’s North Kivu Province, near Butembo city, since early February. According to the MoH, health officials confirmed the first new EVD case in North Kivu’s Biena Health Zone on February 6, and have since confirmed an additional seven cases in Biena, Katwa, and Musienene health zones as of February 26. According to health actors, the first confirmed case was the wife of an EVD survivor from the region’s previous EVD outbreak, which lasted from August 2018 to June 2020; EVD can remain in bodily fluids of survivors and transmit to other individuals for several months. The new confirmed cases also follow the recently declared end of the country’s eleventh outbreak, which occurred in northwestern DRC’s Équateur Province from June to November 2020. In response to the new EVD cases, USAID/BHA is supporting non-governmental organization (NGO) and UN partners with existing FY 2020 funding to establish EVD treatment and transit centers, as well as provide care to EVD-positive and EVD-symptomatic individuals in North Kivu.
Attack on Convoy Results in Deaths of Italian Ambassador, WFP Staff
Unknown armed actors attacked a convoy—comprising diplomatic and UN World Food Program (WFP) vehicles—traveling near North Kivu’s Kanyamahoro town on February 22, resulting in the deaths of the Italian Ambassador to the DRC Luca Attanasio, a member of the Ambassador’s security detail, and a WFP driver, according to the UN agency. International media report that the armed actors had diverted the motorcade—which had departed North Kivu’s capital city of Goma earlier in the day to visit a WFP school feeding program in North Kivu’s Rutshuru town—into nearby woodlands as part of an alleged kidnapping attempt; local security forces intervened, resulting in an exchange of gunfire. UN Secretary-General António Guterres released a statement on February 22 condemning the attack and calling on the GoDRC to investigate the incident.
New Measles Outbreak Reported in Northwestern DRC
Health actors reported approximately 4,500 suspected measles cases—primarily affecting children younger than five years of age—in the DRC’s Nord-Ubangi and Sud-Ubangi provinces between midDecember and late January, the UN reports. The measles outbreak has exacerbated health risks to young children in under-served communities—between early 2019 and August 2020, more than 7,000 children in the DRC died as a result of the disease—and places further pressure on local health systems already strained due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In response, relief actors continue to administer measles vaccinations to vulnerable children and expand local access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services to reduce disease transmission.
Increasing NSAG Activity Heightens Protection Risks in Eastern DRC
Attacks by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) continue to threaten civilians, drive mass population displacement, constrain humanitarian access, and exacerbate humanitarian conditions in eastern DRC’s Ituri and North Kivu provinces. NSAG activity has been particularly concentrated in North Kivu’s Beni Territory, where presumed Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) attacks resulted in more than 150 civilian deaths and displaced approximately 120,000 people between October 2020 and mid-January, according to the UN. Relief actors have reported a similar surge of violence in neighboring Ituri, where intensified NSAG attacks in Djugu, Irumu, and Mahagi territories resulted in more than 647 deaths, approximately 270 injuries, 60 incidents of gender-based violence, and 370 kidnappings between May and December 2020, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). This represents a significant increase in reported protection incidents compared to the previous reporting period, when OHCHR reported 296 civilian deaths across the three territories between October 2019 and April 2020. The UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) continues to coordinate with the Armed Forces of the DRC to disrupt armed group activities while relief actors have provided psychosocial support and protection services to residents of conflict-affected communities.
2021 DRC HRP Targets 9.6 Million People in Need
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released the 2021 DRC Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) on January 29, which identified approximately 19.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, a decrease of nearly six million people compared to the amended 2020 DRC HRP, which was released in June to provide additional support to vulnerable populations adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The 2021 DRC HRP requests approximately $1.98 billion to prioritize emergency assistance for approximately 9.6 million people in need across the country. The HRP cites a decline in livelihood opportunities, rising food insecurity, widespread population displacement due to protracted armed conflict, and the adverse impact of COVID-19 as continued challenges to relief operations in the DRC.