- 13.1 million people across DRC now in need of humanitarian assistance
- World Vision reached over 100,000 people in the Kasais with food aid, education, and psychosocial interventions in the past four months
- World Vision scales up response in DRC in face of unprecedented violence, with fundraising goal $40 million to meet critical needs of 2 million children in 2018
Monday, November 27– 13.1 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are now in need of urgent aid – over half of them children. Millions of children have been displaced by conflict, are suffering extreme hunger and in fear for their lives.
The scale of the crisis facing children is now so vast that international children’s agency World Vision is scaling up its emergency response and calling on the global community to do more.
National Director Scott Lout said: “A massive humanitarian crisis has been unfolding in the Congo almost unnoticed. The scale and brutality of what is happening to children in hard to reach places in the DRC is almost unimaginable.”
World Vision has over the past four months provided humanitarian assistance to more than 100,000 people in the central Kasais provinces of the DRC. This includes food aid, education, and psychosocial interventions.
Lout, who recently returned from the Kasais, said he had met a number of children who shared deeply upsetting stories about being forced to fight and commit atrocities. One girl called Pauline, 15, who attends a World Vision child safe space, had told staff: “I knew some girls who joined the militia. They were my age, or even younger than me. They went off to battle to kill people and drink their blood.”
Pauline has lost her mother, father, and older siblings in the violence when their home was attacked in the middle of the night. She and her little sister spent over a month on the road, sleeping in the bush and walking to their grandmother’s house.
Over the next 12 months World Vision aims to reach 2.9 million people and raise US$40 million for interventions that include: child protection, education and treatment, food and nutrition assistance, water and sanitation, and peace building.
Lout said: “Pauline’s experiences are things no child should ever have to endure, and with this declaration World Vision is committing to do even more to save the lives of vulnerable children caught up in one of the world’s most complex fragile contexts. We already have teams in DRC, Zambia and Angola responding to families in crisis who have fled a mix of conflicts in Congo. If we don’t scale up, within months, DRC’s hunger and violence crisis may lead to millions more being displaced or facing starvation. “
Last month, the UN declared an L3 response – its highest – for the Kasais region in DRC, as well as for the Tanganyika and South Kivu Provinces. Violence in these areas has displaced more than 2.5 million people over the past year (OCHA), with 1.6 million displaced in the Kasais alone (UNCHR). 3.2 million people in the Kasais are facing emergency levels of food insecurity; altogether 4.3 million people in the DRC are struggling to get food to eat. Only Syria, Yemen and Iraq have L3 responses currently in place.
World Vision’s Category III global responses include South Sudan, Syria, East Africa (Hunger crisis), and the Central African Republic. A global response commits the agency to an organisation-wide mobilization to funding and supporting a humanitarian response for the world’s worst crises.
World Vision has been delivering relief, rehabilitation and development programmes to conflict, disaster-affected and poverty-stricken populations in DRC since 1984. Currently, WV operates in 14 out of 26 provinces, with programming in protection, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, food aid, food security, peacebuilding and emergency relief reaching almost 2.5m people as direct beneficiaries in 2015. World Vision is World Food Programme’s (WFP) biggest partner in country, distributing food to nearly 1 million people.
World Vision aims to reach 146,000 beneficiaries in the Grand Kasai region between June and December 2017 and is responding to refugees who have fled to Angola and Zambia. In 2018, WV plans to reach 2.9 million people under the new scale-up plans, of which 2 million should be children.
Working with World Food Programme since August WV has distributed foodstuffs to more than 100,000 food insecure people in Kasai Central, DRC. In the realm of child protection and education, WV is opening six Child Friendly Spaces, conducting back to school distributions of bags and supplies, and planning education interventions which will reach over 30,000 children affected by the conflict.
Other global emergencies where World Vision International is responding are South Sudan, Syria, East African Hunger Crisis, and the Central African Republic.