The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has deteriorated dramatically over the past year. The crisis has deepened and spread, affecting people in areas previously considered stable and stretching the coping mechanisms of people in areas already impacted. A surge in violent conflict and intercommunal tensions has forced more than 1.7 million people to flee their homes in 2017 – an average of more than 5,500 people per day. Today, the total number of internally displaced people in the DRC has reached 4.1 million, which is the highest number of any country on the African continent. Insecurity has had a devastating impact on people’s ability to access food, and 7.7 million people across the DRC are facing severe food insecurity – a 30 per cent increase from the same time last year. The situation is further complicated by political uncertainty and economic downturn.
This deterioration, observed mainly in the Kasai, South Kivu and Tanganyika regions, is taking place against the backdrop of one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crises. Across the DRC, at least 8.5 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection, close to 2 million children are affected by severe acute malnutrition – i.e. 12 per cent of the world’s caseload – and outbreaks of diseases, including cholera, affect tens of thousands of people every year. At the same time, DRC also hosts more than half of a million refugees, including from Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Rwanda and South Sudan.
Looking ahead to 2018, humanitarian partners estimate that 13.1 million Congolese will require humanitarian assistance and protection as a result of heightened violence in a number of hotspots across the country and the precarious food security situation. An estimated US $ 1.69 billion dollars will be required to reach 10.5 million.
Aid organizations in the DRC operate in an exceptionally complex and challenging environment, where insecurity, limited logistical infrastructure and vast swaths of wilderness require innovative approaches to reach people. In addition, despite limited resources, they have had to scale up their operations in new areas of need, such as the Kasais, while maintaining their presence in the areas of traditional humanitarian need, such as the Eastern Provinces.
Despite challenges, humanitarian partners have already delivered lifesaving assistance and protection to more than 2.7 million people this year. However, this is far from the 7.4 million people targeted by the humanitarian response plan. Funding is projected to be at the lowest level in a decade by year-end, with only 47 per cent of the required $812 million received. Additional funding is urgently required to support the scale-up of response in areas where new needs have emerged while continuing to deliver in areas of existing need.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.