D.R. Congo: Deteriorating Security Situation Impedes Huge Humanitarian Response in North Kivu

The humanitarian situation in Goma and the surrounding territories of Rutshuru and Masisi is further deteriorating, and the security desperately unpredictable, as people continue to flee the relentless fighting between the DRC Government forces and the rebel group M23.  Over half a million people have been displaced since March 2022[1], and most of them are living in displaced people’s camps.

This situation has steadily worsened, resulting in unending suffering for the affected families, especially children. We are concerned about the safety, feeding, and health of children forced to live in such difficult conditions. We need urgent assistance to do more to avert looming crises within an already precarious emergency.

Alongside this massive displacement, protests have erupted over alleged inaction by the deployed East African Force and the UN Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO), which have paralyzed all activity in Goma this week. The increasingly agitated protesters barricaded roads with stones, blocking routes, and halting even humanitarian activities.

A recent high-level meeting by the Heads of State of the countries in the East Africa Region called for a cessation of fighting and a withdrawal, by the M23, from the areas they have occupied, but this and earlier efforts are yet to deliver peace. 

The ongoing conflict has blocked supply routes into Goma, affecting the delivery of food and triggering high inflation as well as increased cost of living and suffering.

  1. Children are witnessing extreme violence likely to affect them long after the conflict ends
  2. Displaced children are substantively out of school – and continued protests threaten more closures in the province.
  3. Squalid living conditions in crowded camps increase the vulnerability of children to disease
  4. The massive camps also pose safety challenges, especially for children and young girls

Civil society has temporarily called off the protests, which can allow World Vision and other organizations to resume work among the displaced persons in the Nyiragongo territory. As I write we already have a team distributing food to people in Bulengo camp, recently displaced from Masisi.  Unfortunately, the situation can rapidly and unexpectedly turn again, which presents a challenge to continued programming.

[1] UNOCHA Sitrep January 2023

Under the umbrella of the UNOCHA, the humanitarian community is negotiating for humanitarian corridors to access populations currently trapped in difficult-to-reach places.

World Vision continues to prioritize staff safety, as it mulls response continuity in a very complex context.  We have reviewed and updated our Security and Contingency plans based on the evolving situation.

World Vision is most grateful to the donors who have allowed us the flexibility to leave our usual areas of response and follow the displaced communities. World Vision raised $6,446,227 and provided food, cash, clean water and essential hygiene supplies. Over 267, 000 people displaced as a result of renewed fighting that started in March 2022 were reached through the different interventions.