STORY: Humanitarian situation in the DRC - OCHA
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
RELEASE DATE: 22 May 2023
Humanitarian needs in DR Congo are spiralling, warns UN top aid official
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a neglected crisis with increasing humanitarian needs," the UN’s top aid official in the country warned on Monday.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains a protracted humanitarian crisis which is a very acute and very complex one but also one of the most neglected ones, warned Bruno Lemarquis, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator while stressing the rising need for humanitarian assistance
“The situation is definitely not business as usual. The DRC protracted humanitarian crisis remains very acute and very complex, and according to the Norwegian Refugee Council, it is the most neglected humanitarian crisis in the world”, Mr. Lemarquis told reporters on Monday in Geneva. It's mostly due to conflict, but also to epidemics, to disasters, and is compounded by many factors, including the lack of state presence in some areas and the lack of infrastructure.”
According to Mr. Lemarquis, the DRC has the highest number of food insecure people in the world with 26.4 million people. There are an additional 6.4 million people, especially children under five, that are acutely malnourished and 6.3 million internally displaced people in the country, the highest number in Africa.
“Since March 2022, the situation has really worsened, especially with the resurgence of the so-called M23 movement,” said Mr. Lemarquis. “The humanitarian needs, which were already very high, have increased further. They have skyrocketed with additional population displacement, in particular the resurgence of the M23 had direct consequences with over one million additional displaced population, mostly in North Kivu and mostly around the town of Goma.”
Most of these displaced are living in informal settlements and in a dire situation since people need shelter, food, water, sanitation and health services. These settlements have also caused a sharp rise in sexual and gender-based violence.
There have been "steep increases in the number of acts of sexual violence against women and girls, in particular in these sites,” reported Mr. Lemarquis. “GBV [Gender-based violence] is at a record high. More than 38,000 cases of GBV cases were signaled in North Kivu in 2022, and already for the first three months of 2023 there has been a 37 per cent increase.”
Apart from conflict, there are other factors worsening the humanitarian situation.
“This year there is particularly virulent measles epidemics with high numbers”, said the Resident Coordinator. “And also, disasters. Two weeks ago there were deadly floods leading to landslides. This is one of the most catastrophic events, natural disasters in the DRC ever. So far, over 400 people have been killed in South Kivu, but 6,000 people are still missing,”
In 2023, the funding needs are at $2.25 billion for the year, but so far, only 20 per cent of that amount has been raised.