“It’s a mega crisis. The scale of people fleeing violence is off the charts, outpacing Syria, Yemen and Iraq,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director in DRC, Ulrika Blom.
Figures released today by IDMC’s new Africa report reveal a grim reality inside the country. Over 1.7 million people have fled their homes so far this year because of insecurity, according to the United Nations – an average of over 5,500 people per day. This brings the total number of people displaced to over four million.
“For the second year running, DR Congo is the country worst affected by conflict displacement in the world. Communities in DR Congo are being double pounded - by brutal conflict and a worsening political crisis,” said Blom.
The main reasons for the rise in displacement include new armed conflicts, and a rise in existing conflict in volatile areas. The IDMC report points to delays in holding presidential elections as part of the reason for the upsurge in violence.
Kivu, Kasai and Tanganyika provinces are the current epicentres of the violence in the country.
“What we’ve seen firsthand in Tanganyika province is beyond horrifying. Last week we found a church sheltering over 80 people who’d fled attacks in September - families piled together in absolute squalor. Children sleeping on wet soil, thinly covered by empty sugar sacks. Four people have died since this community arrived, including two children,” said Blom.
The violence has prevented many families from accessing land and maintaining their livelihoods. Some 7.7 million people are severely food insecure, up 30 per cent in a year. A lack of access to clean water has led to a cholera outbreak that has killed some 600 people.
Despite the UN activating its highest Level 3 emergency for the country in October, little money or resources have trickled in to respond to the crisis. Today, DR Congo is the second lowest funded of the world’s biggest crises. Less than half of the USD 812 million needed to help 8.5 million people has been received so far.
“Donor fatigue, geopolitical disinterest and competing crises have pushed DR Congo far down the list of priorities for the international community. This deadly trend is at the expense of millions of Congolese. If we fail to step up now, mass hunger will spread and people will die. We are in a race against time,” said Blom.
- NRC has spokespeople in DR Congo available for interview in English, French and Swedish.
- Video of displaced communities and b-roll of Tanganyika is available here.
- IDMC is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council. The full IDMC report can be downloaded here.
For more information, please contact:
- In DR Congo:
Kimberly Bennett, Protection and Advocacy Adviser
+243 812 408 612
+47 905 62329