Following the confirmation of Ebola resurgence in eastern DRC, UNICEF deployed additional staff and sent medical equipment and supplies to North Kivu. In March, 11 suspected cases of Ebola Virus Disease have been reported, including 5 deaths. The 42-day countdown to the declaration of the end of the epidemic has thus begun as of Monday, March 22.
In March 2021, 8,936 people affected by humanitarian crises in Ituri and Tanganyika provinces have been provided with Non-Food Items (NFI) life-saving emergency packages through UNICEF’s Rapid Response (UniRR).
As of 31th March 2021, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected 23 out of the 26 provinces in the DRC, with a total of 28,196 confirmed cases.
Situation in Numbers
9,800,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance (OCHA, Revised HRP 2021*)
19,600,000 people in need (OCHA, Revised HRP 2021*)
5,300,000 IDPs (Revised HRP 2021*)
2,050 cases of cholera reported since January (Ministry of Health)
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF appeals for US$ 384 million to sustain the provision of humanitarian services for women and children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received to date. However, the 2021 HAC has a funding gap of 86%, with significant funding needs in nutrition, health, WASH, education and communication for development.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Inter-community violence and armed conflict:
Between January and March 2021, the MRM Country Task Force documented a total of 602 grave violations against children including 303 recruitment and use of children, 112 abduction, 102 killing and maiming and 74 sexual violence. The North Kivu remain the most affected province (262 violations) followed by Ituri (177 violations) and South Kivu (87).
During the past 6 months, the increased attacks of ADF and incidents of violence against civilians (including children) in the border area between South Ituri and the North of North Kivu is particularly concerning. In addition, and following the decision of the US State Department to designate the ADF as foreign Terrorist organization affiliated to ISIS; UNICEF and its partners are closely monitoring the situation of children associated with the ADF to ensure the respect of Paris Principles1 and CAAFAG programs focused on children’s right and best interest.
In March, security situation in Ituri Province, in particular Djugu and Irumu Territory, remained volatile. At Iga-Barriere in Djugu Territory, a humanitarian vehicle was set on fire limiting humanitarian access in the zone. In relations to this, disrupted traffic on RN27 road that links Bunia, Djugu and Mahagi hampers humanitarian assistances towards Djugu and Mahagi as well as increases prices of food and basic necessities. In the locality of Boga and Tchabi in south of Irumu Territory, incursions by non-State armed groups were intensifying, leading to displacement of around 27,000 people according to OCHA. As a reminder, more than 1.6 million people have been displaced in Ituri Province and 49% of the total population are in needs of humanitarian assistances. Mortality rates in the Province is 1.5 times higher than the emergency threshold.
In North Kivu Province where more than 1.8 million people have been displaced (IDPs), the fragmentation/fighting caused by a war of secession of an armed group continue to cause suffering of people in Masisi, Rutshuru, Walikale and Lubero Territory. In addition, in Beni and Lubero, the situation remains volatile due to on-going military operations and incursion of armed groups leading to a degradation of the humanitarian situation and preventing IDP’s returning home, exacerbating their humanitarian needs as well as those of the host communities.
In South Kivu province, approximately 72,830 people6 are in needs of humanitarian assistance in Fizi, Mwenga and Uvira. In addition, conflict situation in Haut Plateaux and Moyens Plateaux is still on-going limiting humanitarian access and deepening needs of affected population.
South Kivu also faced natural hazard in addition to armed conflicts. Approximately 6,000 households in Uvira territory were affected by the rising water of Lake Tanganyika and in need of emergency shelter and humanitarian assistances. In addition, massive floods in Tanganyika have affected 10,123 people in Kalemie and Moba Territory.
A total of 11 confirmed cases of Ebola virus (EVD), resulting in five deaths have been recorded in the health zones of Biena, Katwa, Musienene, and Butembo since the resurgence of the disease in February 2021, in North Kivu province. Two of the 11 cases are health professionals. More than 66,500 people have been reached by Community Action Cells (CACs) trained people who have delivered Ebola awareness messages since the beginning of the epidemic. 929 health care providers have been briefed on Ebola prevention and other care protocols; The funding gap for the response is currently 67%. In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected 23 out of the 26 provinces, with a total of 28,196 confirmed cases. The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating health, social and economic impact on already vulnerable populations, particularly women and children, undermining access to food, employment, health care and schools. The socio-economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic is expected to further increase the number of children with SAM in 2021.