Over 500,000 people have been displaced in recent months as armed groups continue to attack communities along Eastern DRC, Africa’s second-largest country and one of the most vulnerable in the world.
“One mother we are supporting said her husband and two of their eight children were killed during an attack at their village in North Kivu,” said Concern’s DRC Country Director, Antoine Sagot-Priez, “that woman said their house was set on fire. They fled to Oicha city where they now struggle to afford rent and living costs.”
Another survivor of a village attack, a 50-year-old cocoa farmer, and father-of-ten told Mr. Sagot-Priez that his wife and two sons aged nine and eleven were abducted. He has no idea if they survived. During their night-time attack, he managed to get his remaining eight children, aged six to 19, to safety with relatives.
“The situation in the east of the country is escalating with settlements for internally displaced people growing by the day as separate conflicts continue involving armed groups,” Mr. Sagot-Priez explains, “the people we provide humanitarian assistance to in Oicha have been affected by the conflict generated by the presence of an extremely violent armed group.”
The DRC already has Africa’s largest displaced population with 5.6 million people made homeless due to conflict inside its borders. In addition to that, it hosts half a million refugees from neighboring countries. The DRC, which has a population of over 108 million people, is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world despite being rich in natural resources.
There is also a major food crisis in the DRC affecting over 27 million people, along with climate-related crises like the drought in areas.
An estimated 4.2 million people have acute malnutrition and 2.4 million of them are children under five years old and 1.7 million are pregnant and lactating mothers.
Concern is providing clean water points, food, and cash for essential supplies as part of its emergency response, in addition to aid to improve water and hygiene systems, income generation, and gender equality.
“Over the course of 2022, 798,783 men, women, and children benefitted from our programs,” added Antoine Sagot-Priez.
The ongoing security crisis has also created conditions for other armed groups to be more proactive and therefore generate more violence in other territories, and it is important to keep humanitarian response capacities in those areas.
“The needs are still vast and right now we are implementing a rapid-response emergency program in North Kivu as we continue to respond to the needs and reduce the vulnerability of households affected by conflict and shocks in DRC.”
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