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The Humanitarian Crisis in Congo
An Overview of the Humanitarian Crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is experiencing one of the most complex and long-standing humanitarian crises in its history. Decades of internal conflict, weak institutions, the explosion of epidemics diseases, lack of food security and stunted economy have worsened the situation. Many of its population have not experienced peace in more than 20 years.
Sadly, DRC humanitarian crisis is also one of the most unknown and forgotten crises in the world.
Main Humanitarian Concerns
- Internal conflict
The country has more than 100 different armed groups competing for territory and control in the eastern part of DRC. This has caused massive population displacement (some 4.5 million) and requires a huge humanitarian response which has not always been forthcoming. Some 13.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 5.6 million children. Women and children, as the case in many conflicts, are often the most vulnerable. One in ten females in the country have experienced sexual violence.
Recently, internal conflicts have intensified and the humanitarian situation has dramatically worsened, mainly in the Kivu and Ituri regions.
- Epidemics, severe malnutrition and food insecurity
Some 9.2 million people are exposed to potential epidemics diseases. Last year, more than 21,000 cases of cholera and measles were reported. Yellow fever is also becoming a large problem. Additionally, 4.2 million children are malnourished and 2.9 million experience food insecurity.
DRC is also dealing with a large outbreak of Ebola, with more than 2000 lives lost and 3000 confirmed infections since the outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018. On July 2019, the World Health Organisation declared the Ebola outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”
“This particular outbreak is happening in the densely populated and conflict-affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, making it more difficult and dangerous to access affected people and areas.”
Quick facts on the humanitarian crisis in DRC, MercyCorps, July 17, 2019.
République démocratique du Congo: 2018 Aperçu des besoins humanitaires, ReliefWeb, October 2018.
Julien Harneis on FLICKR