(Kinshasa, 13 March 2018) UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sigrid Kaag, today called on the international community to urgently address the crisis facing the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where humanitarian needs have doubled since last year.
More than 13 million people in DRC need humanitarian assistance and 4.5 million have been forced to flee their homes as a result of fighting. More than 4.6 million Congolese children are acutely malnourished, including 2.2 million cases of severe acute malnutrition. Epidemics are spreading, including the worst outbreak of cholera in 15 years.
Mr. Lowcock and Ms. Kaag today traveled to Kalemie in the south-eastern province of Tanganyika where they visited the Katanika displacement site and spoke with some of the over 13,000 people who live there, having fled ethnic violence. "We heard their heart-wrenching stories, their descriptions of what they need, but also their hopes and their stories of resilience and courage in the face of unimaginable challenges. What we know is happening in many parts of the country, doesn’t need to persist if we work together. Every vulnerable Congolese family deserves all our support to rebuild their lives," said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Lowcock.
Minister Kaag also joined a group of women including survivors of sexual violence, to listen to their experiences, needs, and hopes for the future. In Katanika, as in most Congolese provinces affected by displacement, women and children make up the majority of the severely affected people.
Ms. Kaag and Mr. Lowcock also traveled to the Kalunga displacement site which has received nearly 3,500 displaced families since November 2016 and where education, water and sanitation, and agricultural projects have been established by humanitarian partners to help meet the needs of displaced people. “As a humanitarian donor, this visit has highlighted just how imperative it is that we, collectively, secure the resources needed to protect and support these people, especially young women and girls. As well as the millions of others in this country who have been forced to flee violence and require humanitarian aid,” said Ms Kaag.
On Monday, Mr. Lowcock and Ms. Kaag met with acting Prime Minister and Vice Prime Minister Mr. Jose Makila Sumanda and the Minister of Solidarity and Humanitarian Action, Mr. Bernard Biando Sango, and discussed the impact of insecurity on aid operations. The Government representatives said they would further facilitate the work of humanitarian organisations and reduce tariffs for humanitarian imports including medicines and food.
On 13 April in Geneva, the European Commission, the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates will co-host the first-ever humanitarian donor conference for DRC. Humanitarian partners require nearly US$1.7 billion this year to address humanitarian needs in the country, including for 4.5 million internally displaced people.
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