Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Continuing commitment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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© UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo/2013/Morton
A member of the UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo staff talks with schoolchildren as part of a focus group discussion held in South Kivu.

UNICEF commemorates World Humanitarian Day by recognizing all humanitarians who have lost their lives in the course of their work, and those who continue to serve.

Democratic Republic of the Congo, 19 August 2013 – UNICEF has been present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1963, responding to needs and seizing opportunities for development.

The situation in the country remains unstable. Millions of Congolese people have died from conflict-related violence, disease and malnutrition in recent years. A further 2.6 million people are internally displaced, having taken refuge in the east of the country. Fighting between rebel and government forces has included such grave human rights violations as the burning and looting of homes and schools, mass sexual violence, family separation and forced 'recruitment' of children into armed groups.

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© UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo/2013/Morton
When fighting broke out on the edge of Goma in May, the humanitarian community mobilized resources to create sites to cater to displaced persons. UNICEF helped to provide shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, and logistical support.

Attacks against humanitarians threaten to complicate even more the already difficult process of providing relief to those in need.

Relief amidst uncertainty

In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UNICEF/OCHA-led Rapid Response to Movements of Population (RRMP) programme provides aid to persons made vulnerable by conflict-related displacement through such support as rapid emergency non-food items (NFI), water, sanitation and hygiene, health and education. Operating in areas of inherent risk, the programme served more than 1.6 million people last year.*

“The delivery of this assistance is directly linked to our humanitarian access,” explains UNICEF RRMP Coordinator Filippo Mazzarelli. “If we’re not able to access these communities in need because of security concerns against humanitarians, the risk is that they may not receive this essential, potentially life-saving aid.

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© UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo/2013/Morton
While UNICEF continues its large-scale, multi-sectorial emergency response in the east, it is also carrying out its health and nutrition, education and protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene activities country-wide.

“There are so many in need here that there may be a risk from the outside of losing sight of the fact that each one of these 2.6 million displaced is a unique person, living in fragile circumstances,” continued Mr. Mazzarelli. “And, remember also that, beyond those in the east, millions more struggle to cope with poverty, malnutrition and diseases such as cholera and measles.”

Renewing a commitment

In 2013, UNICEF continues its large-scale, multi-sectorial emergency response in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is also carrying out its health and nutrition, education and protection, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities country-wide.

UNICEF plays a key role in humanitarian coordination, as well, leading the Nutrition, WASH, Education and NFI/Shelter clusters, and the Child Protection Working Group within the Child Protection cluster.

The annual operating budget for UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo to carry out its activities in 2013 is US$134 million. At time of posting, a funding gap of US$60 million remains.

Humanitarian Action for Children 2013: Democratic Republic of the Congo

* Cumulative figures, by sector.


 

 

UNICEF Photography: Reuniting families

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