Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2013, UNICEF and partners plan for:
children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition are treated
survivors of sexual violence are provided with medical care, psychosocial support, reintegration assistance as well as legal counselling and assistance
people affected by displacement will be reached with rapid assistance with non-food items, emergency water and sanitation, emergency education, and emergency health interventions
2013 requirements (US$)
The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to deteriorate. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) increased by 25 per cent between January and June 2012. In the eastern part of the country, up to 2.4 million people, over half of them children, are displaced by armed conflict. The conflict continues to be characterized by grave human rights violations: including burning and looting of homes and schools, mass sexual violence, family separation, and forced recruitment of children into armed groups. As of November, 540 schools have been affected by armed conflict in North Kivu alone. This is a 48-per-cent increase since August that jeopardizes learning opportunities for over 180,000 children. The recent crisis in Goma – where the temporary takeover of the town by the March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group caused the displacement of over 130,000 people – illustrates the volatility of the situation in the East.
Acute malnutrition is a silent emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With a total population of 13.2 million children under 5, a prevalence of 5.2 per cent and an incidence rate of 1.5 per cent, it is estimated that more than a million children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The central and western provinces that are not affected by conflict are the most affected by acute malnutrition, with some areas exhibiting rates equal to or above the 15 per cent emergency threshold.
Severe epidemics are yet another driver of humanitarian need for children. Measles outbreaks were reported in 10 out of 11 provinces, resulting in 41,398 cases and 1,077 deaths by the end of September 2012. Cholera, in both endemic and epidemic zones, continues to threaten children: with 25,549 cases reported nationwide. Malaria and pneumonia continue to be the top killers, as in most developing countries. The combined effect of these factors leads to an extremely volatile situation where any destabilizing element can result in a crisis.
Planned results for 2013
2013 Programme Targets
- At least 300,000 children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition are treated
- 6 million children under 5 benefit from measles response interventions
- 20,000 people of all ages are treated for cholera
- 100,000 children are targeted for severe anaemia and malaria treatment
- Medical assistance is provided for 600,000 conflict-affected people
- 400,000 displaced persons and host community members (including approximately 200,000 children) have safe access to water and sanitation facilities, and live in a healthy environment, with assistance from the Rapid Response to Movements of Population (RRMP) programme
- 1,645,000 people in cholera-prone zones benefit from preventive as well as WASH cholera-response packages
- 300,000 severely malnourished children receive WASH assistance, from the nutrition centres through to the household level
- 4,500 children formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups are reunited and reintegrated into the community, and followed up
- 2,000 separated and unaccompanied children are identified and reunited with their families
- 80,000 displaced and returnee children are received in child-friendly protective spaces for psychosocial support, educational activities, sensitization and non-formal education activities
- 8,500 survivors of sexual violence are provided with a comprehensive response, including access to medical care, psychosocial support, reintegration assistance as well as legal counselling and assistance
- 182,500 girls and boys (of 5–11 years old) affected by conflict or natural disasters (including via RRMP) are given access to quality education and psychosocial activities, through the construction and rehabilitation of 1,500 schools and/or temporary learning spaces and other measures
- 3,318 teachers are trained on learner-centred methodologies, peace education, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and how to identify and refer children in need of psychosocial care and support to available protection services
- Catch-up classes are provided for crisis-affected children (internally displaced/ returnee/host community children) who missed out on schooling due to conflict
Non-food items (NFI)
- 55,000 people (outside of RRMP target areas) access essential household non-food items (NFI) and shelter materials
- 70,000 people assisted through multi-sectoral voucher fairs and unconditional cash grants
- 1.5 million people affected by displacement will be reached with multi-sectoral assessments; and rapid assistance with non-food items, emergency water and sanitation, emergency education, and emergency health interventions
In 2013, UNICEF will continue a large-scale response to conflict-related population displacement in the East. This will involve an improved Rapid Response to Movements of Population (RRMP) mechanism being expanded in line with projected needs. Care for severely malnourished children will be scaled up to serve more than 300,000 children under 5, that is, 25 per cent of the projected caseload. Child protection interventions will continue for those children who have become separated from their families; have formerly associated with armed groups; or have survived sexual violence. In conflict areas, where children are most at risk, the provision of emergency education assistance and child-friendly spaces will be scaled up. Nationwide action to prevent and respond to measles and cholera outbreaks will be prioritized. UNICEF will continue to play a key role in humanitarian coordination: leading the nutrition, WASH, education, and non-food items (NFI)/shelter clusters, as well as the Child Protection Working Group within the child protection cluster. Innovative approaches will be expanded, through cash-based humanitarian assistance; resilience will be strengthened, through an increased national capacity for disaster and conflict reduction; and emergency preparedness and response will be enhanced.
Results from 2012
UNICEF originally appealed for US$143,900,000, later revising this to US$164,000,000 to address the increased needs. As of 31 October, US$59,180,5431 (36 per cent of the revised requirements) was received as contributions. This enabled UNICEF and its partners to focus on programme delivery. More than 10 million children under five were vaccinated against measles; over 1.3 million people accessed safe water; and more than 675,000 received essential household items. Over 80,000 children accessed psychosocial support through 50 child-friendly spaces; and 46,450 children accessed quality education.
Safe and secure humanitarian access was a major challenge in 2012: with 97 attacks against humanitarian agencies reported in North Kivu alone, as of September 2012. In addition, there was an unexpected increase in the number of IDPs resulting from the renewed armed conflict between the government and the M23 rebel group in North Kivu, providing a further challenge to the humanitarian community. The number of displaced people in central Katanga, a previously stable area, increased by over 90 per cent, presenting another significant challenge.
With the generous support of key partners, UNICEF was able to scale up its multi-sectoral response to population movements in the second half of 2012; but key sectors, particularly emergency education, remained well below planned targets due to lack of adequate financial support. Complex situations, such as cholera, also require longer-term and more flexible funding in order to deliver a complete response and prevent epidemics reoccurring. Response and support to population movements other than in the East, such as those of Congolese migrants expelled from Angola and returnees in Equateur, also remain significantly underfunded in all sectors.
UNICEF funding requirements for 2013
In line with the country’s interagency 2013 Humanitarian Action Plan, UNICEF is appealing for US$134,560,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2013. Without this additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to support the national response to the country’s continuing nutrition crisis nor provide protection and critical multi-sectorial assistance to displaced children and their families. Investment in life-saving and life-enhancing emergency education is also urgently needed to uphold children’s right to education and to preserve their future capacities in a prolonged conflict situation.