2020 IN REVIEW
DRC HUMANITARIAN FUND AT A GLANCE
Humanitarian situation in 2020
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to face an acute and complex humanitarian crisis. By 2019, a political transition had been completed peacefully and the scale of violence had decreased, particularly in the Kasai region. In 2020, the humanitarian situation deteriorated in a context marked by persistent conflict in the east and increased violence in several parts of the country.
The COVID-19 epidemic affected economic growth while most of the Congolese population was already in extreme poverty. Structural problems remain, such as limited access to quality basic services, insufficient public development and social protection policies for the most vulnerable, and deep gender inequalities.
Armed conflict and natural disasters continue to cause largescale population movements in the east of the country, as well as serious protection incidents.
The DRC is home to one of the world’s largest population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the largest on the African continent. There are 5.2 million IDPs, some 1.4 million returnees and 527,000 refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries.
Internal displacement has mainly been caused by armed attacks or clashes and intercommunal conflicts (98 per cent of the causes of displacement, according to the Humanitarian Needs Overview).
Three times as many civilians were killed by armed groups in the first half of 2020 as in the same period in 2019, which reflects a deteriorating security situation in the provinces of Ituri, the Kivus and Tanganyika. Nearly 42,000 violations, as well as a 22 per cent increase in the number of protection incidents compared to the same period the previous year, were recorded in the first half of 2020. Gender-based violence (GBV) and serious violations against children's rights remain a major issue. From January to September 2020, 45,000 cases of GBV were reported in the DRC, an 86 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019.
Food insecurity and acute malnutrition
The DRC is currently the country with the most acutely food insecure people, with 21.8 million people affected. People in crisis and emergency situations (IPC phases) are mainly found in areas affected by conflict and population movements and epidemics.
Nearly 4.4 million people are acutely malnourished, including 3.4 million children under age 5. The prevalence of global acute malnutrition is 6.5 per cent and chronic malnutrition is 42 per cent.
In 2020, five diseases of epidemic potential were under surveillance in the DRC: COVID-19, Ebola virus disease (EVD), measles, cholera and malaria. Since the first case was reported in the country in March 2020, COVID-19 has profoundly affected the livelihoods of the most vulnerable households and exacerbated protection risks, particularly for women and girls. As of December 31, 2020, 17,657 confirmed cases were reported, including 590 deaths. The capital Kinshasa remains the area most affected by COVID-19.
Humanitarian access to all populations in need remains a major challenge for humanitarian actors, who are limited or hampered by insecurity, lack of infrastructure, isolation of certain areas, as well as administrative obstacles. The increase in attacks against humanitarian actors is worrying.
Between January and November 2020, 356 security incidents affected humanitarian operations, seven humanitarian workers were killed, 15 injured and 46 abducted. Insecurity and transport difficulties also disrupt the efforts of affected populations to access essential services available.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.