WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA DR Congo
A boy passes a United Nations peacekeeping compound in a remote part of war-torn Oriental Province. Conflict, extreme levels of sexual violence and almost non-existent social services continue to define one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Humanitarian Action Update, August 2012 [PDF]
Mid-Year Review of the Humanitarian Action plan for the DRC, July 2012
Children and Women in Crisis
Ongoing conflict in the east and northeast – along with dysfunctional or non-existent social services and infrastructure throughout the country – make the Democratic Republic of the Congo home to one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies. The displaced population as of June 2011 is estimated to be at least 1.6 million, more than half of them children. In addition, there are about 800,000 returnees and 120,000 host families.1 In 2011, attacks by both armed groups and armed forces – which used mass sexual violence – continued, while hundreds of children have escaped armed groups. Since 2010, measles outbreaks have been prevalent. If preventive campaigns are not implemented in time, 11 million children in the four provinces of Bandundu, Bas Congo, Kinshasa and North Kivu will be at high risk.2 Cholera has also broken out in new areas and is quickly spreading along the Congo River, with 16,680 cases and 482 deaths as of 20 October 2011.3 Many children have not been able to access education or have had their education disrupted; there is a lack of flexible, appropriate education options, especially for young children and adolescents in such a precarious environment. Estimates indicate that 7.6 million children are out of school, with 34 per cent of them in conflict-affected areas.4 Security issues and lack of physical access to communities in need make delivering humanitarian aid extremely challenging.
Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012
As lead agency for the nutrition, education, WASH, child protection, emergency shelter and non-food items clusters, UNICEF will work with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, other UN agencies and NGOs to meet the following needs:
- Shelter materials and emergency education, as well as basic WASH assistance will be provided to an estimated 1.2 million displaced returnees and people in host communities within the Rapid Response to Movements of Population Programme.
- Some 54,000 families will be assisted with non-food items and shelter in conflict- and disaster-affected provinces outside the eastern conflict-affected zones.
- Supplies and assistance will be given to treat some 154,000 undernourished children. Measles vaccines will be provided for 11 million children 6 months to 15 years old; and deworming treatment and/or vitamin A supplementation will be given to 14 million children. About 30,000 people will receive treatment for cholera.
- Access to water and sanitation facilities will be provided for more than 677,000 people, an estimated 39 per cent of the country’s displaced population. Around 208,000 people in cholera-prone communities will benefit from WASH programmes.
- An estimated 275,000 vulnerable and crisis-affected children will receive quality formal and non-formal education, including professional training and socio-economic insertion. Training will be provided for 5,000 teachers and educators.
- Approximately 3,000 children formerly associated with armed groups will be reintegrated into the community; 2,000 unaccompanied children will be identified and reunited with their families, and child-friendly protective spaces will be created for close to 50,000 displaced and returnee children.
- Interventions, medical kits, basic health and treatment will be provided for an estimated 15,000 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict and displacement zones. Psychosocial care will be provided for 20,000 people.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011
In 2011, UNICEF requested US$123,070,000 for its work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As of end October 2011, US$62,618,453 (51 per cent) had been received. UNICEF’s Rapid Response to Movements of Population assessed the needs of 1.8 million people, provided essential household items and shelter materials to more than 65,000 families, and provided access to water and sanitation to more than 200,000 conflict-affected persons in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Therapeutic feeding supplies were given to more than 95,000 children with severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF responded to a measles outbreak in five provinces by vaccinating more than 5.6 million children 6 months to 15 years old; some 16,000 cholera cases were also treated. More than 630,000 people affected by cholera and displacement (against the programmatic goal of 826,000) improved their hygiene knowledge and gained access to safe water and sanitation facilities.
During the first three quarters of the year, more than 15,000 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (50 per cent children) were provided with services. Some 71,000 displaced and returnee children accessed the protective environment of child-friendly spaces, and 4,500 children who escaped armed groups were given temporary care. More than 26,000 children received improved access to education and psychosocial services.
Funding Requirements for 2012
UNICEF is requesting US$143,900,000 to carry out its planned humanitarian activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This request is aligned with the 2012 Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP). Immediate and full funding is necessary to support the protection and recovery of women and children.
1 Democratic Republic of the Congo Humanitarian Action Plan 2012, forthcoming, and UNICEF child population estimate.
2 UNICEF estimate of child population of children 6 months to 15 years old in four provinces.
3 Democratic Republic of the Congo Ministry of Public Health ‘Epidemiological situation of Cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Bulletin’, Ministry of Public Health, Kinshasa, 20 October 2011, p.1.
4 ‘Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey – 2010’ September 2010.
5 Rapid Response to Movements of Population is a multi-sectoral programme providing emergency humanitarian assistance in non-food items/shelter, WASH and education to conflict- or disaster-affected populations (approximately 1.7 million beneficiaries per year) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Bas and Haut Uele, Ituri, North and South Kivu).