DR Congo

UNICEF Humanitarian Action Update: Democratic Republic of the Congo 05 Nov 2008

Situation Report
Originally published



- Renewed fighting in eastern DRC causes some 100,000 newly displaced in the last week, half of these estimated to be children; 250,000 newly displaced since late August in North Kivu province alone.

- Affected population living in critical conditions; urgent assistance required in water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, health, shelter/household supplies and protection

- UNICEF requires USD12 million to provide response for first 3 months


Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is experiencing a renewed humanitarian catastrophe. The recent confrontations in North Kivu follow a rapid deterioration of an already fragile security and humanitarian situation, beginning in August 2008 with the collapse of the Goma peace accords (see UNICEF Humanitarian Action Update of October 13, 2008). Humanitarian access is limited in many areas and nearly all humanitarian organizations have relocated their staff to safer areas. Despite intense diplomatic efforts, the security situation in eastern DRC remains extremely precarious and the humanitarian situation is deteriorating by the day.

The hostilities which escalated in North Kivu on October 26 forced some 100,000 people to leave their homes-tens of thousands of these people are re-displaced as they were already living with host families or in displacement camps and sites. In recent days, fighting between the rebel CNDP (National Congress for the People's Defence) forces of Laurent Nkunda and Congolese government forces has propelled families from Kibumba, Rumangabo, Rutshuru and Kiwanja, with people fleeing northwest toward Kanyabayonga and northeast toward the Ugandan border. An estimated 50,000 of the newly displaced from Kibumba and Rumangabo are setting up makeshift shelters in and around the Kibati displaced person camps north of Goma. Others are staying with host families.

The 100,000 people displaced in the past week brings the estimated total number of newly displaced people in North Kivu since late August 2008 to 250,000, the majority of whom are women and children. OCHA now estimates that there are a total of over 1,000,000 displaced in North Kivu alone-one-fifth of the province's total population. The insecurity and recurrent displacement are having devastating effects on children and women. Local communities hosting displaced families and aid agencies struggle to assess and meet the critical needs of the affected population in a context where many areas are still plagued by insecurity and limited access.

While global attention is focused on the desperate situation in North Kivu, UNICEF and partners are simultaneously trying to address acute humanitarian crises in the Ituri and Dungu areas of Province Orientale where recent rebel hostilities by the Front Populaire pour la Justice au Congo (FPJC) in Ituri district and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Dungu region have displaced tens of thousands of people as well. On November 1, 2008, LRA rebels attacked Dungu town, reportedly abducting children and causing large-scale population displacement.