Read caption A house destroyed when the armed clashes broke out in Ngaza/Kananga in March 2017. The owner fled and took refuge in the neighbouring village. Photo:Theudjios Katembo/NRC

Inadequate response for 1.3 million people in Kasaï crisis

Published 19. Jun 2017|Edited 20. Jun 2017
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo is experiencing one of the largest displacement crisis in the world today. Despite this, we’re seeing a woefully inadequate number of aid agencies on the ground responding, and a pitiful amount of money trickling in to deliver aid,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director in DR Congo, Ulrika Blom.

Over 1.3 million people have been displaced by an outbreak in violence in DR Congo’s Kasaï Region since August 2016. Some 8,000 people were displaced per day in May alone. Almost half of those displaced are children, thousands of whom have been victim to indiscriminate violence, separated from their parents and recruited by armed groups. 

NRC is one of the first international humanitarian organisations to respond to the crisis in Kasaï Central province, deploying a team to the capital, Kananga. Kasaï Central is the epicentre of the crisis, hosting about 630,000 displaced people. 

NRC assessments found 338 schools in Kasaï Central were not in use because of the conflict, representing over 1 in 10 schools in the region. In Nganza village for example, the situation is especially complicated with some schools being occupied by armed groups.

“Children have been hit hardest by the conflict,” said Blom. “Many schools are destroyed or occupied by armed groups, robbing thousands of children from the chance of an education. For the lucky ones whose schools remain open, many are too scared to risk going, and so can’t sit their exams as a result.”

An emergency flash appeal by OCHA in April has only managed to raise 53 per cent of a requested US$65 million in terms of intent, but only 8 per cent have actually been provided so far. “Access to communities in need in Kasaï Central is improving, so we should be using this window to scale up and respond. But without the necessary funding, our hands are tied,” continued Blom.

Read caption Picture from a visit to the Disangayi primary school in Kasai. In the photo, children who have already paid their school fees have their hands raised. NRC visited the school to identify displaced and vulnerable children lacking money for school fees in order to pay it for them. Photo: Monique Ngalula/NRC

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Facts and figures
  • Over 1.3 million people are internally displaced in Kasaï. Over a third of people displaced in DRC are in the Kasaï provinces.
  • 639 schools destroyed by the conflict in the Kasaï provinces, according to the UN mission (MONUSCO).
  • Over 3.7 million people are internally displaced in DRC as of May 2017. This is an increase from December 2016 of with 1.5 million people, mainly in Kasaï.
  • 475,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Over 20,000 people recently fled from Kasaï to Angola.
  • An estimated 7 million of DR Congo’s 92 million people need humanitarian aid.
  • The country’s overall humanitarian appeal for 2017 is only 20 per cent funded – with only US$168 million received of a $812 million requested.
  • 1 in 10 people in eastern DR Congo was displaced in the past decade.
  • Life expectancy in DR Congo is only 58 years.
  • On average 1 in 10 children die before their 5th birthday.
  • DR Congo ranks 176 of 188 on the world’s human development index.
  • DR Congo is among the last 10 per cent of the least developed countries in the world, according to the UN’s Development Programme.

About NRC in DR Congo

Established
2001
International staff
19
Areas of operation
Goma (Country Office), Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika, and Kasai-Central
National staff
342