UN warns of humanitarian catastrophe in DR Congo


Humanitarian needs caused by conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo doubled over the last year and a cash shortage is the “largest single impediment” for a proper response, the UN humanitarian chief said.

“There is also an epidemic of sexual violence, most of it unreported and unaddressed and much of it against children,” said Mark Lowcock in a statement to the Security Council.

A long-delayed election to replace President Joseph Kabila is at the root of violence ravaging the Central African country. On Monday, the UN condemned an “unlawful and unjustified” crackdown by Congolese security forces on anti-government protests that killed at least 47 people.

About 2.2 million people became internally displaced in the DRC last year, almost doubling the number of internally displaced to 4.5 million.

With some 13 million people needing humanitarian assistance, more than 4.6 million acutely malnourished children and the worst outbreak of cholera in 15 years, Lowcock said about $1.7 billion is needed this year for humanitarian programmes in the DRC, nearly four times what was secured in 2017.

Lowcock asked for “immediate and substantial financial contributions” ahead of the first high-level humanitarian conference on the DRC to be held in Geneva on April 13.
“Under-funding is the largest single impediment to the humanitarian response in the DRC,” Lowcock said, adding without a halt to the violence and a successful political transition the crisis will continue to escalate.