The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has deteriorated dramatically over the past year. The crisis has deepened and spread, affecting people in areas previously considered stable and stretching the coping mechanism of people in areas already impacted. A surge in violent conflict and intercommunal violence forced more than 2.16 million people to flee their homes in 2017 – an average of 50 families of every hour every day. Today, the total number of internally displaced people in the DRC has reached 4.4 million, which is the highest number of any country on the African continent. North Kivu Province remains the most affected, accounting for over 1.1 million displaced persons. Insecurity has had a devastating impact on people’s capacity to access food, and 7.7 million people across the DRC are facing severe food insecurity – a 30 per cent increase from the same time last year. The situation is further complicated by political uncertainty and economic downturn.
This deterioration, observed mainly in the Kasai, South Kivu and Tanganyika regions, is taking place against the backdrop of one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crises. Across the DRC, at least 13.1 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection, more than 2 million children under 5 years are affected by severe acute malnutrition – i.e. 12 per cent of the world’s caseload – and outbreaks of diseases, including cholera, affect tens of thousands of people every year. In January 2018, Humanitarian Coordinator Kim Bolduc launched the Humanitarian Response Plan valued at US$ 1.68 billion to respond to humanitarian needs this year, an amount double the 2017 financial requirement.
Aid organizations in the DRC operate in an exceptionally complex and challenging environment. Insecurity has hindered humanitarian partners’ ability to reach more than 1 million people from October to December of 2017 alone, and limited logistical infrastructure, vast swaths of wilderness, and administrative impediments add an additional layer of complexity.
Despite challenges, humanitarian partners delivered life-saving assistance and protection to close to 3 million people in 2017. However, this was far from the 7.4 million people targeted by the humanitarian response plan. However, 2017 recorded on of the lowest funding levels of the past decade, with only 57 per cent received out of the required $812 million. Additional funding is urgently required to support the scale-up of response in areas where new needs have emerged while continuing to deliver in areas of existing need.
On 20 October 2017, the IASC Principals activated a System-Wide Emergency Response Level 3 (L3) Response for the crises in the Kasai Region, Tanganyika and South Kivu, for a period of 6 months. Significant gains have been made under the L3 to scale up response capacity.