The unstable and unpredictable security situation has significantly reduced the capacity of the humanitarian response in North-Kivu due to the multiple incidents of abduction of humanitarian workers. As a consequence, humanitarian access remains a major challenge.
On 20 June, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared a yellow fever outbreak. World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 1,399 suspected cases and 68 confirmed cases. Since the notification of the first suspected cases, UNICEF is providing critical support to mass reactive vaccination campaigns, surveillance, vector control, social mobilization, and case management.
Recurrent cholera outbreaks remain a major concern in the majority of the DRC provinces. In South-Kivu, since the beginning of the year, a total of 2,348 cases with 14 deaths has been reported. In the Equateur and the Mongala provinces, a cholera epidemic is sweeping down the Congo River due to the heavy floods of December 2015 and January 2016. Since May 2016, the Ministry of Health reported 833 cases and 39 deaths.
Political tensions have increased during the last month, particularly in HautKatanga.
In May 2016, a protester and a police officer were killed in Goma during protests against a possible delay to holding elections in November as scheduled.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The Eastern part of the DRC continues to be the theatre of a complex and chronic humanitarian crisis. As of May 2016, the United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported a total 1.8 million of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) due to armed attacks and violence between the DRC armed forces (FARDC) and armed groups, mainly in Southern and Eastern DRC. An upsurge of violence and massive population movement have been taken place due to the resurgence of armed groups wishing to claim independence for the province of the Haut-Katanga and to the spreading of ethnic tensions between Nande and Hutu communities in North-Kivu.
The lack of humanitarian access has increasingly become a major concern in the North-Kivu province. Two staff of the International Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) Solidarités International were abducted in Lubero territory on 25 May. Consequently, the INGO Solidarités International and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) temporarily suspended their operations in North-Kivu province, while other INGOs, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children, also suspended part of their activities specifically in Ikobo groupement. Since the beginning of 2016, 14 aid workers have been abducted and one humanitarian worker died after he was caught in crossfire on 6 May. This has significantly reduced the capacity of humanitarian response, including UNICEF and the Rapid Response to Movements of Population (RRMP) mechanism.
In Shabunda territory (South-Kivu), as the military operation of the FARDC against armed groups continued, humanitarian actors have suspended their activities since May 2016.
In Uvira Fizi territories, the FARDC’s military operations against Ngumino armed group were supported by MONUSCO, limiting humanitarian access. A total of 2,500 households of IDPs and returnees in need of humanitarian assistance were estimated.
Escalation of inter-ethnic clashes
Following inter-communal conflicts in Miriki of Lubero territory in North-Kivu, the tensions between Nande and Hutu communities have shifted to the nearby locality of Buleusa in Ikobo groupement, leading to deaths on both sides and the partial destruction of the IDP settlement by the surrounding community. The Hutu population sought protection and settlement in the FARDC camp and expressed their will to remain in Buleusa as opposed to the initial proposition of the governor to relocate the population. The issue remains very sensitive and a political solution has yet to be found.
Recurrent clashes between the Raia Mutomboki and Nyatura coalition against the FARDC in Kalehe territory forced more than 3,000 households to flee towards safer area within the province.
Resurgence of the armed groups in Ituri province
• Conflicts among the various armed groups and the FARDC continued to affect Eastern Congo. Beni, in NorthKivu was among the most affected areas due to the Forces démocratiques alliées (ADF/NALU) attacks against FARDC in Eringeti, which forced around 25,000 people to be displaced towards Ituri province. Attacks against and kidnapping of members of the local population continued to be reported. In early May, the execution of close to 25 persons was reported in the localities of Biane, Ndalia, Katabey and Luna.
Widespread violence including cases of sexual abuse and killings have been reported in southern Irumu territory and Mambasa territory in the Ituri province:
Mai-Mai Simba militias conducted several raids in the mining hubs of Mutchatcha and the areas around Lolwa, Bandisende and Pangoy. In absence of an offensive operation by the FARDC, the network of armed groups in Mambasa territory has expanded, with new Mai-Mai groups from the North-Kivu settling in the area, reportedly forming a coalition called the Alliance of Patriots for the Liberation of Congo (AFDL). An estimated total of 10,000 people have been displaced towards localities of BelaBiakato area.
Despite the offensive operations conducted by the FARDC, supported by MONUSCO, the Forces de Résistance Patriotique d’Ituri (FRPI) militia continued to frequently operate in several localities in the Aveba-Bukringi-Boga area. This has led to an influx of displaced people mainly in the localities of the Komanda-Luna area. 35,000 newly displaced persons were located in the localities of Ndalya,
Bwanasura, Idohu and Ofay in Irumu territory.
Violence in Haut-Katanga
- Violence by Mai-Mai elements are thought to be connected to the Kata Katanga armed group in the South of Mitwaba territory (Haut-Katanga). Assessments conducted by UNICEF have found that about 2,000 newly displaced households arrived in Lubudi territory, Lualaba, as well as in Mitwaba territory, Haut-Katanga. During the same period, about 2,650 households, displaced to various villages in the area during the fighting in February, returned to Kanfwa and Kitobo. These are the largest conflict-related population movements reported in HautKatanga since the Luba-Pygmy conflict during the spring of 2015.
New Refugees Influx
Due to the latest fighting in South Sudan's capital, the number of people seeking refuge in neighbouring countries has increased. Between January and May a total 12,912 South Sudanese refugees have been registered in Dungu-Doruma axis. New waves of spontaneous arrival were observed since April. UNHCR and government partners have launched a new process of identification in order to update the refugees’ statistics in the area.
The DRC government declared a yellow fever epidemic on 20 June.
1,399 suspected cases and 82 deaths have been reported, the majority in the provinces of Kinshasa, Kongo Central and Kwango on the border with Angola. 68 cases were confirmed with nine autochthonous cases of which seven cases are linked to the current outbreak.
Over the last two weeks of June, one confirmed case (deceased) and seven probable cases were reported in Mushenge Health Zone, Kasaï Province.
- Following the floods from October 2015 to May 2016, there was a re-emergence of cholera in endemic and epidemic areas, particularly in the provinces along the Congo River, with 11,293 cases and 245 deaths (fatality rate: 2.17%) as of mid-June 2016. All the provinces of South-Kivu, Haut-Lomami, North-Kivu, Tshopo, Tanganyika, Haut-Katanga, Ituri, Equateur and Mongala reported cases, with an increase of 5,000 cases in comparison to 2015. The low rate of water sanitation facilities, especially in rural areas, and the high density of population in urban areas, play an important role in worsening the already fragile structural situation that increase the negative impact of the shocks (see map below showing the expansion of cholera since June 2015/Source UNICEF). Specifically, the provinces of Equateur and Mongala reported a total of 833 registered cases with 39 deaths (fatality rate: 4, 7%). The previous significant outbreak of cholera in these provinces occurred in 2011-2012. This current epidemic is atypical in that the number of cases are fluctuating. For example, from week 7 to 12 only 27 cases were reported, followed by an intensification of cases reported during weeks 19 and 20 with 463 cases. A downward curve was observed during week 22 with 56 reported cases and then another intensification during 23-24 week with a total of 182 cases. This epidemiological curve poses some challenges for the NGOs responding to the emergency.
The measles epidemic continues to affect thousands of people, especially in Northern and Eastern DRC. In June 2016, a total of 2,132 confirmed cases (109 deaths) and a total of 5,251 suspected cases were reported.
- In the Haut-Uele province, between January and May 2016, the statistics of the Isiro Provincial Health Division (DPS) reported that 255,419 persons were affected by malaria, leading to 671 deaths, the majority being children under five years old. In 2015, between April and June, a similar malaria outbreak was observed in this area.
- In Djugu territory, floods in early May at five locations (Joo, Gbi, Fichama, Loromi and Mbogi) in Tchomia Health Zone (HZ) has affected more than 15,500 (almost 56 % of the total population of this region). This natural disaster has left nine dead, 11 missing, destroyed more than 1,000 shelters and damaged some structures including two health facilities and three primary schools in the area.
- During the reporting period, the National Surveillance and Early Warning System (SNSAP) was effectively functional in 516 HZ. In total, 19 HZ reported alerts in: Kasai (Kitangwa and Nyanga), Kwilu (Djuma and Bagata), Tsuapa (Boende, Mondombe, Ikela and Bokungu), South-Ubangi (Bulu), Tshopo (Yahuma), North-Kivu (Pinga), Kasai oriental (Bipemba), Haut-Lomami (Kanda kanda), Kwango (Wamba lwadi, Tembo, Kahemba and Feshi), Kongo Central (Kizu), Sankuru (Kole). Surveys conducted in Djuma indicated levels of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) at 21.1% and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) at 5.5%; in Bene Dibele (GAM 14, 5% and 3, 2 % SAM);
Befale (GAM: 10.3%); Lusambo (GAM: 13% and 2.9% of SAM); Nyunzu (GAM: 13% ); Walikale (GAM:10.7% and SAM:4.4%); Bambo (GAM: 14.4% and SAM: 6.8%); and Birambizo (GAM: 11.8% and SAM: 5.5%).