DR Congo: Funding urgently needed to avert a catastrophe, says CAFOD

from Catholic Agency for Overseas Development
Published on 12 Apr 2018

Funding is urgently needed to avert a catastrophe in DR Congo, says CAFOD

At a UN Pledging Conference this week (13 April) in Geneva, international aid donors will be battling to raise the profile of an under-funded, and worsening humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).

Bernard Balibuno, CAFOD's country representative in DR Congo said:

"Every day, families are facing the loss of their homes, schools and health clinics due to the horrors of conflict and violence which continue to spread across the country."

The current lack of funding is seriously hampering the ability of local and international aid agencies to urgently assist Congolese people in the greatest need. Last year the UN Humanitarian appeal was only 57 per cent funded.

Joining the high-level UN conference will be a delegation from the Congolese Catholic Church - the Church is playing a leading role as a national frontline humanitarian first responder; its long-standing networks can be found in every Congolese village, giving them access to areas that international aid agencies might struggle to reach.

Balibuno said: "It is critical that we act now; governments and international donors need to urgently support the funding gap. Without aid many vulnerable people will not survive."

The epicentre of the conflict is in the provinces of Kivu, Kasai and Tanganyika. The violence has led to 4.5 million people fleeing their homes over the past year, 7.5 million Congolese do not have enough food to eat, and more than 2 million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition, leaving a population of 13 million in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

Balibuno saw for himself the devasting impact the conflict has had on communities in Beni, in North Kivu.

"I met Kavuro, a single mother of four children who fled her village because a militia group - the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) looted and killed people in her area. She is living with a host family from her church, but they are also very poor.

"In such a terrible situation, host families share their already limited resources with families like Kavuro's, despite seeing their own humanitarian situation deteriorate day by day.

"Most displaced families I met were surviving on just one meal a day."

Balibuno concluded: "The Congolese Catholic Church (CENCO) is supportive of this donor conference, calling for a 'humanitarian plan' to tackle the crisis in the country.

Notes to Editor

  1. Moderator of the Geneva UN Pledging Conference is Mr Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
  • European Commission, the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates will co-host this first-ever DR Congo humanitarian donor conference, which needs $1.7billion this year to address the humanitarian needs in the country.

  • The UN-led 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for DR Congohttps://fts.unocha.org/appeals/587/summaryreceived only $456.7 million of the $812 million needed.

  • DR Congo is one of Africa's largest countries, with a population of 65 million. It is ranked in the bottom 10 countries worldwide on the UN Human Development Index, despite its vast potential mineral wealth.

  • CAFOD is the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. It works with communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to fight poverty and injustice. The agency works with people in need regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality (cafod.org.ukhttps://cafod.org.uk/).

  • CAFOD has more than twenty years' experience working in DR Congo through its experienced and trusted Church partners - responding to humanitarian emergencies and longer development projects. It is part of the Caritas network of more than 160 Catholic aid agencies worldwide, which work together to respond to humanitarian emergencies.

  • Spokesperson available in DR Congo for media interviews and briefings on the current context on the ground. For interviews please contact: Nana Anto-Awuakye, email: nanto-awuakye@cafod.org.uk,nanto-awuakye@cafod.org.uk Mobile: +44 (0)7799 477 541, CAFOD Out of Hours Media Phone: CAFOD +44 (0)7919 301 429

Laura Ouseley World News Officer

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