Regional Humanitarian Outlook for the Great Lakes: January - June 2018
INTRODUCTION & KEY TAKEAWAYS
This Outlook provides an overview of the anticipated humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes region from January to June 2018. It focuses on Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and neighbouring countries—including Angola, Kenya and Zambia—that have received refugees and asylum-seekers due to the DRC crisis.
The report covers: drivers of humanitarian crises in the region, particularly the intensification of violence in the DRC; manifestations of humanitarian needs, including record levels of displacement and food insecurity; and constraints to meeting humanitarian needs, including obstacles to humanitarian access and inadequate funding.
The report’s key takeaways are as follows:
• Conflict and internal violence in the DRC have intensified and spread in multiple locations, driving a severe deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the DRC and causing massive displacement, both within the DRC and to neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region.
These trends are expected to continue in the months ahead. Conflict in the neighbouring states of the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan is also expected to continue to impact the humanitarian situation in the Great Lakes region.
• The Great Lakes region is experiencing economic slowdown, rising poverty and increasing costs of basic goods as a result of conflict and political instability. Unless political solutions are found to reverse the current trends, levels of vulnerability and humanitarian needs are expected to rise in the first half of 2018.
• Several locations in the region—western Uganda, north-eastern Rwanda and southern Tanzania—are expected to face higher chances of above normal to normal rainfall from March to May 2018, increasing the risk of flooding and landslides.
• Displacement of populations is increasing at an alarming rate. Nearly 2.8 million people were newly displaced inside, into or from the Great Lakes region in 2017, including about 2.1 million newly internally displaced in the DRC following an escalation in conflict and internal violence in multiple locations. There are now about 7.4 million people internally displaced or living as refugees/ asylum seekers in or from the region1—primarily as a result of the conflicts in CAR, the DRC and South Sudan, and the situation in Burundi—and displacement is expected to rise in the months ahead.
• There is a deepening food insecurity and nutrition crisis in the region, largely driven by conflict, leaving some 10.9 million people severely food insecure at the end of December 2017 across the DRC (7.7 million people), Burundi (2.6 million), Uganda (441,000) and Tanzania (120,000). Over 2.2 million children are estimated to be severely malnourished in the DRC and an estimated 70,000 children under age 5 require treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in Burundi. Food insecurity could deteriorate in the coming months if fall armyworm is not contained.
• The region is battling simultaneous outbreaks of communicable diseases. The DRC is facing its worst cholera epidemic in 15 years, and cholera cases have also been reported in Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. A high malaria burden— especially in Burundi—is expected to worsen during the upcoming rainy seasons in the region.
• Humanitarian access continues to be impeded by direct attacks and widespread insecurity in the DRC, with this trend expected to continue in the months ahead if violence intensifies and spreads.