This is the highest number globally of people internally displaced by conflict, according to the mid-year report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
“Conflict in DR Congo is having a devastating impact on civilians. And it shows no signs of abating. A staggering 2 million people have been forced their homes since June 2016, about half of whom have fled this year,” said Ulrika Blom, the Norwegian Refugee Council's Country Director in DR Congo. “We are watching a catastrophe in the making. We need more support and we need it now.”
A total of 3.8 million people are internally displaced in DR Congo, and another 487,000 have fled to neighbouring countries. The largest increase of refugees leaving the country has been from the Kasaï region to Angola. In addition, insecurity has spread to new areas previously regarded as relatively peaceful; eight of the country’s 26 provinces have been engulfed by armed fighting.
On top of that, a massive food crisis threatens to worsen the already critical situation. This is because of insecurity, and large numbers of people being displaced and unable to access land.
The United Nations recently reported that 7.7 million people across DR Congo are acutely food insecure, up 30 per cent since last year. Food security data on the Kasaï region in particular shows an alarming change from last year. NRC food security assessments of Kasaï-Central province found a Food Consumption Index level of 18. This is far below the United Nation’s acceptable level of 42.
“Hunger has reached emergency levels in several areas of the Kasaï region. The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear,” warned Blom.
The Norwegian Refugee Council was one of the first international aid agencies to respond to the crisis in Kasaï, and is providing food and school support for over 18,000 people in need. But despite growing needs, funding has been slow to trickle in. The aid appeal for DR Congo calls for USD 812 million, and has only been a quarter funded.
“Our hands are tied to do more for the people affected. Eight months into the year and the appeal is only 25 per cent funded. This leaves us paralysed from doing more. If the funding crisis is not addressed it will have dire consequences for people displaced who need our help,” said Blom.
- 1 in 10 people in eastern DRC was displaced in the past decade.
- Life expectancy is only 58 years.
- On average 1 in 10 children die before their 5th birthday.
- DRC ranks 176 of 188 on the world’s human development index.
- DRC is among the last 10 per cent of the least developed countries in the world, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
The Norwegian Refugee Council is a humanitarian organization working in more than 31 countries globally. It set up in DRC in 2001, and today helps communities in Baraka, Beni, Bukavu, Goma, Ituri, Kananga, Kinshasa, Kirumba, Kitchanga and Masisi.