In coordination with the UN and colleague organizations, Action Against Hunger has launched rapid field assessments of critical needs for nutrition, hygiene, water and sanitation. The findings will support an international humanitarian response to the ongoing crisis. Action Against Hunger has also mobilized teams in neighboring Uganda to identify needs as refugees pour across the border.
"Displacement on such a major scale jeopardizes already vulnerable populations," explains Action Against Hunger Desk Officer, Karine Milhorgne. "And it's not just the fear of actual violence. When thousands are forced to suddenly abandon their homes, then left without ready access to food, clean water, and basic sanitation, their very lives are threatened. This threat is especially grave for young children."
Heavy fighting outside Goma temporarily forced Action Against Hunger to evacuate its staff to safety. But a day later, the teams had resumed programs and launched emergency assessments. In response to widespread insecurity and regional cholera outbreaks, ACF's Goma base supports direct field operations in Walikale and Minova by integrating activities in nutrition, food security, and water, sanitation, and hygiene.
The continuing instability in North Kivu makes it especially difficult to assess the extent of the crisis. Coming just months after previous rounds of dislocations, this most recent wave of displacement further compounds an already complex humanitarian crisis. "As is often the case, only a political solution can prevent this from recurring," states ACF Executive Director Nan Dale. "In the meantime, we're striving to ensure a coordinated international response that will protect those most vulnerable and prevent the further loss of life."