Many parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continue to experience prolonged conflict and widespread poverty, contributing to population displacement, chronic food insecurity and restricted livelihood activities. In addition, emerging crises in the Kasaï, Kasaï-Central, Kasaï-Oriental and Tanganyika provinces are displacing families, disrupting agriculture and impeding access to markets, health care and schools. There are approximately 4.1 million Congolese internally displaced persons (IDPs), according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As of October 2017, the DRC also hosts over 526,000 refugees from neighboring countries.
Food security conditions in the DRC have worsened in the past year. Nearly 7.7 million Congolese are experiencing acute food insecurity, a 30 percent increase from the 5.9 million reported in June 2016, according to the latest IPC analysis*.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projects that Crisis (IPC 3) level food insecurity will persist in parts of Haut-Katanga and Maniema provinces through January 2018 and in Kasaï, Kasaï-Central, Kasaï-Oriental and Tanganyika provinces through May 2018. Other areas of central and eastern DRC will experience Stressed (IPC 2) levels of food insecurity until January. Market availability of food is projected to improve as the return of normal rainfall is likely to benefit crop prospects and imports of maize have increased, according to FEWS NET.
- The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal—IPC 1—to Famine—IPC 5.*
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide U.S. in-kind food assistance and locally and regionally procured food to IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host communities through general food distributions, as well as cash transfers for food to refugees in difficult-to-access areas of the DRC. In addition, FFP partners with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to treat severe acute malnutrition in children in eastern and central DRC.
With USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, FFP jointly funds non-governmental organization (NGO) partners Samaritan’s Purse, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, International Medical Corps, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to provide a multi-sectoral package of humanitarian assistance that includes food vouchers and locally and regionally procured food to newly displaced populations.
In response to the emergency in Kasaï, Kasaï-Central and Kasaï-Oriental, FFP support enables NGO partners Action Against Hunger (AAH), CRS and Handicap International to distribute life-saving food to nearly 165,000 food-insecure and conflict-affected IDPs, returnees and host community members.
Furthermore, FFP collaborates with NGOs CRS, Food for the Hungry, and Mercy Corps on longer-term development food assistance projects that build capacity in agriculture, maternal and child health and nutrition, civil participation and local governance, water and sanitation, natural resource management and biodiversity, and microenterprise productivity. These multi-year long programs seek to strengthen household economic well-being and generate lasting gains in food and nutrition security among vulnerable communities in South Kivu, Tanganyika, Kasaï-Central and Kasaï-Oriental provinces.