Many parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are experiencing prolonged conflict and poverty, contributing to population displacement, chronic food insecurity and restricted livelihood activities. Violence and insecurity continue to drive urgent food and relief needs in the DRC’s greater Kasaï region as well as Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika provinces, with a recent Ebola outbreak in Ituri and North Kivu further complicating the humanitarian situation.
Approximately 4.5 million Congolese remain internally displaced across the country, according to the UN. As of June 2018, nearly 1.8 million Congolese people—previously displaced internally and abroad—have returned to their areas of origin in South Kivu, Tanganyika and the greater Kasaï region. Having missed several harvests due to displacement and struggling to rebuild homes and replace productive assets destroyed by conflict, many returnees are in urgent need of assistance.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) projects that Crisis (IPC 3) levels of acute food insecurity will persist in Kasaï, Kasaï-Central, Kasaï-Oriental, Tanganyika and parts of Ituri through January 2019.* Many populations in other areas of southeastern DRC, as well as some areas in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu, will experience Stressed (IPC 2) levels of acute food insecurity during the same period, as families deplete their food stocks and turn to coping strategies—such as decreasing the number of meals per day or buying less expensive food—to meet their food needs.
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide in-kind food assistance— sourced from U.S., Congolese and regional markets—and cash transfers for food to vulnerable and crisis-affected populations, including refugees, through general food distributions and programs that prevent and treat moderate acute malnutrition. In addition,
FFP works with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to treat severe acute malnutrition in children in eastern and central DRC.
In coordination with USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, FFP jointly funds several non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to provide a multi-sectoral package of humanitarian assistance, including cash transfers, food vouchers or in-kind food and nutrition assistance, to displaced populations in eastern DRC.
Separately, FFP is responding to emergencies in eastern DRC and the greater Kasaï region by supporting NGO partners to distribute life-saving food assistance to internally displaced people, returnees and host community members in need; some NGOs are also conducting complementary agriculture activities to kick-start crop production and promote recovery. FFP is also working with NGOs in northern DRC to provide food assistance to refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR).
Furthermore, FFP collaborates with Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry and Mercy Corps to implement long-term development and resilience activities among vulnerable communities in South Kivu, Tanganyika and Kasaï-Oriental. The partners conduct multi-sectoral interventions—focusing on agriculture; maternal and child health and nutrition; civil participation and local governance; water and sanitation; natural resource management and biodiversity; and microenterprise productivity—that seek to strengthen household economic well-being and generate lasting gains in food and nutrition security