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DRC: Three-year strategy to tackle a relentless, protracted crisis

10 Feb 2017


Aid agencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have launched a groundbreaking Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) requesting US$748 million to address the most critical needs of 6.7 million people trapped in a 20-year crisis. As the multi-year HRP aims to allow humanitarian partners to focus on preparedness and flexible, long-term funding, the plan will target close to 7 million people each year between now and 2019.

Last year’s appeal remained almost 40 per cent unfunded. But if aid is not delivered on time this year, 6 million people will struggle to access basic goods and services, including 2.2 million displaced people and their host communities. Some 1.5 million people will need protection services amid continuing human rights violations, and 6.7 million people across the country face threats from hunger and epidemics.

At a glance

 1.9 million children under age 5 severely malnourished  2,000 people displaced by conflict and violence every day in 2016
 6.7 million people targeted by humanitarian assistance in 2017  54 million Congolese born into conflict and insecurity


Most of DRC’s vulnerable people are in the country’s eastern regions, especially parts of North and South Kivu Provinces, which have been hard hit by years of conflict. But pockets of vulnerability exist elsewhere, aggravated by DRC’s political deadlock, the economic downturn and the recent spike in intercommunal clashes in the southeastern provinces and in the three Kasai provinces. 

Millions of people struggle to access food

DRC has vast amounts of green and fertile land that could potentially feed over 2 billion people. But two decades of conflict, epidemics and rampant insecurity have left millions of people in DRC reeling from malnutrition and food insecurity, which accounts for almost half of the deaths of children under age 5. This year, an estimated 4 million people will suffer from malnutrition—including 3.5 million children and pregnant and lactating women—and 847,000 people are at risk of acute malnutrition. As a result, the HRP is requesting over $137.4 million to provide food aid to 2.7 million people over the next three years.

Exponential population displacement

In 2016, violence and conflict in DRC displaced an average of 2,000 people per day. More than 2.1 million people—most of them women and children—are now internally displaced. The country was also hosting about half a million refugees at the end of 2016. Humanitarian partners are managing large operations across the vast country, and they have prioritized assistance to the “most vulnerable among the vulnerable.” These include the internally displaced, refugees and host communities, representing 64 per cent of people targeted by assistance this year.

A health-care system in crisis

The health situation in DRC remains grim. Access to health care is a major challenge nationwide. Regions such as Haut Katanga, Haut Lomami and Lualaba face significant health-care gaps, including a lack of qualified medical personnel.

Humanitarian agencies are doing their utmost to help the most vulnerable people, but the number of deaths from preventable diseases, such as cholera, malaria and measles, is unacceptably high. For example, in 2016, 25,030 people died from cholera, malaria, measles or yellow fever. Malaria was the leading cause of death and hospitalization, with over 14.1 million cases reported from January to December 2016, including over 23,800 deaths.

Last year, only one third of the requested funds were received to provide people with clean water and basic hygiene supplies. The 2017-2019 HRP seeks $27.7 million to meet the most urgent health-care needs of some 2.4 million people.


Photos: OCHA