Humanitarian Action Report 2007 - Homepage

WCARO DR CONGO

CRITICAL ISSUES FOR CHILDREN

The last decade of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has resulted in some 4 million excess deaths. It is estimated that about 1,200 people die every day due to ongoing epidemics and conflict-related emergencies. There are over 1.6 million recent returnees in DRC, while approximately another 1.6 million persons remain displaced – some 40,000 people flee their homes every month. Homes, villages, markets, fields, health structures and schools have been looted or destroyed, hindering access to basic services and shelter. Eighty per cent of the population live on much less than $1 a day. It is believed that 8,000 children are still with armed groups and forces, while the 19,000 children released from armed groups require social reintegration. Landmines and unexploded ordnance affect some 3 million people in former conflict zones.

Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies underlie almost half of under-five deaths. Underweight and acute malnutrition rates among children are estimated at 31 and 16 per cent respectively and maternal mortality remains very high at 1,289 deaths per 100,000 live births. Only 22 per cent of Congolese have access to safe drinking water and 9 per cent to improved water supply and sanitation. HIV prevalence is estimated at 5 per cent, with much higher estimates in areas affected by conflict and gender-based violence resulting from conflict. In 2006 incidents of sexual violence were becoming more frequent. Net school enrolment ratio fell from 59 to 52 per cent between 1995 and 2001 and drop-outs remain in excess of 10 per cent. More than 4.4 million school-aged children are not in school. The quality of teaching is affected by low salaries, crumbling infrastructure and educational material shortages.

PLANNED HUMANITARIAN ACTION FOR 2007

Health and nutrition: UNICEF will procure and distribute essential emergency drugs and equipment to 300 health centres; provide vaccines, materials and support for the vaccination of 3.9 million children against measles, 6 million children against polio and 2 million children against all other antigens; provide medicines and operational assistance to cholera epidemics; distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets to 1.5 million children and pregnant women and train community-based health workers in their promotion and use. Benefiting 45,000 malnourished children and their families, provide therapeutic products, drugs, equipments, rehabilitation and training to feeding centres previously established and run by partners, in partnership with FAO, WFP and the Ministry of Health. This also includes training mothers of malnourished children on good feeding practices, with special emphasis on infant feeding in emergencies.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: Benefiting some 500,000 displaced and war-affected persons, UNICEF will construct protected water points to provide safe drinking water; construct ventilated improved pit latrines in health centres, schools and public spaces; promote family latrine construction through social marketing and hygiene education; distribute water containers and hygiene kits as necessary; promote hygiene education and awareness programmes to complement existing water and sanitation services; train community hygiene educators; establish and train water committees.

Education: UNICEF will supply basic scholastic materials for 600 primary schools and low secondary schools; procure and distribute recreation kits and school supplies for 300,000 displaced and conflict-affected children and adolescents; train 6,000 primary schoolteachers and 500 school principals on HIV/AIDS prevention, gender and equity issues and peace education; rehabilitate 100 schools and build latrines in most affected areas; undertake social mobilization and communication activities towards host communities.

Child protection: UNICEF will support the release of children from armed groups who have not participated in the official disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme; support social and economic reintegration of 11,000 children released from armed groups and forces; prevent family separation by strengthening or developing local community protection mechanisms and sensitization; identify and provide appropriate medical and psychosocial response to reintegrate 15,000 women and children subjected to sexual violence; reinforce community-based rapid response mechanisms through training on prevention/response to sexual violence; support free school enrolment of 12,000 orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) in AIDS-affected communities; provide free access to health care for some 3,000 OVC and their caregivers in AIDS-affected communities; strengthen operational monitoring mechanisms at community level.

HIV/AIDS: Benefiting some 950,000 children and vulnerable families, UNICEF will aim to reduce vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS by 85 per cent in prevention of mother-to-child-transmission centres; train 700 peer educators, teachers and community workers in life skills and HIV/AIDS education; promote knowledge of HIV/AIDS and preventive measures among young people and vulnerable groups; strengthen and expand provincial and community-level AIDS prevention networks in targeting the most vulnerable young people; construct 120 needle and syringe incinerators and train 480 health actors in their management.

Mine action: Benefiting some 500,000 at-risk people, UNICEF will train 150 trainers in mine-risk education (MRE); strengthen MRE capacity of international and national NGOs; make MRE available to affected communities via schools, churches, and other community structures; provide technical assistance to the Government and governmental partners.

Rapid response mechanism (RRM) for emergencies: Implemented in collaboration with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the RRM continues as the largest mechanism responding rapidly to acute and life-threatening crises. Funds are channelled through OCHA and through UNICEF (for operational costs, supplies, logistics, and security materials) to pre-position stocks of relief items and provide operational partners (focal points) with quick deployment capacity. A contingency fund is reserved to allow other partners to engage in interventions beyond the capacity of the focal point. Benefiting an estimated 130,000+ internally displaced families in 2006, key activities include: assessment of humanitarian needs resulting from acute, rapid-onset crises within 48 hours of identification; response to needs of eligible beneficiaries in shelter and non-food items, water and sanitation, emergency education and primary health care; coordination of assessment and response; monitoring of utilization of supplies and/or services delivered; and evaluation of impact of interventions. When crises cannot be responded to by the RRM, UNICEF retains stand-by capacity to provide emergency assistance to a further 25,000 families, with emphasis on children and women-headed households.
 
Programme of expanded assistance to returns (PEAR): Implemented in collaboration with all key UN agencies and partner NGOs, PEAR is expected to benefit some 100,000 internally displaced returnee families in eastern and southern DRC through support to reintegration and recovery in UNICEF cluster lead sectors, as well as in sectors in which UNICEF has a substantial role (health, community participation and mobilization, HIV/AIDS, etc.). Activities include: provide timely and accurate information to potential returnees on conditions in villages of origin; undertake detailed multisectoral assessments in identified key return zones; respond in key UNICEF sectors and advocate for needs in other sectors to be addressed; store, distribute and monitor end-use of items provided to eligible return families; contribute to sectoral coordination through cluster leadership approach. As cluster lead for non-food items/emergency shelter, UNICEF will retain stand-by capacity to provide emergency family relief kits and clothes to a further 15,000 returnee families outside the PEAR framework.

Cluster leadership and coordination: UNICEF will continue to strengthen the effective, timely and well-coordinated inter-agency response to humanitarian crises by assuming leadership in 5 out of the 10 clusters established in DRC: 1) water and sanitation, 2) nutrition, 3) education, 4) non-food items/emergency shelter, 5) emergency telecommunications. It will do so through improved and coordinated planning and strategy development, identification of key partners, standard setting, monitoring and reporting, advocacy, training and capacity-building.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2007

Sectors

US$

Health and nutrition

28,500,000

Water, sanitation and hygiene

10,000,000

Education

7,000,000

Child protection

5,000,000

HIV/AIDS

3,000,000

Mine action

1,000,000

Cross-sectoral initiatives

 

Rapid response mechanism for emergencies

20,000,000

Programme of expanded assistance to returns

20,000,000

Cluster leadership and coordination

1,750,000

Total*

96,250,000

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.