ECHO renews its support to UNICEF/OCHA’s Rapid Response to Population Movements
KINSHASA/BRUSSELS, 20 November 2013 - The European Commission’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) is increasing its funding to UNICEF to ensure assistance to children and their families who are affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters and cholera in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). UNICEF announced this week that ECHO has donated a further 6 million euros (over 8.1 million dollars) for the Rapid Response Mechanism for Population Movements (RRMP), bringing the total ECHO contribution to 16.7 million euros (over 22.5 million dollars) for 2012-2013.
Thanks to ECHO's support, UNICEF DRC will be able to reach over 800,000 people affected by displacement in Eastern DRC with multi-sectorial assessments and emergency support in health, essential household items, emergency water and sanitation, and emergency education. Actions will target children, and their families, in North Kivu, South Kivu, Province Orientale and Katanga who have suffered from conflict in their home villages.
The recent disarmament of Mayi-Mayi Kata-Katanga and the end of M23’s armed insurgency declared on 05 November 2013 may result in the return of tens of thousands of displaced people to their homes after months or even years away, generating new needs.
The humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains volatile. Due to armed conflict, an estimated 2.7 million people, over half of them children, are internally displaced in the eastern part of the country. The overwhelming majority of them (more than 96 per cent) are living in host communities. Instability in Katanga led to the displacement of over 375.000 people.
Through the RRMP, from January to October 2013: 450,699 people were provided essential household non-food items (NFI) and shelter materials, 70 % of them through voucher fairs; 295,144 people were given access to water, sanitation and hygiene in emergency; 99,421 children aged 5 to 11 years old had access to quality education and recreational and psychosocial activities in a protective environment; 40,481 people received free emergency health care through RRMP operated Mobile Clinics and supported Health Facilities. RRMP gave critical support to the emergency vaccination of 284,143 children against measles.
Conflicts in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been 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. Yet, today with recent changes in the military threshold, there is hope that the future can be different.
"Peace is essential to give children the future they deserve", says UNICEF's Representative in the DRC, Barbara Bentein. "To assist families who were affected by violence in the past, we need a coordinated response that lays the foundation for a peaceful future. Health care and prevention action, safe water and hygiene, emergency education and essential household items help families to rebuild their lives. ECHO is helping us to achieve this."
“Thanks to our working together these last years the lives of millions of children in DRC have been saved while the health and well-being of many more have been improved,” said Yorgos Kapranis, Head of ECHO Office in the DRC. “At this moment in DRC, together we are helping close to 1 million children and their families to restore their lives. Results like these are what count for the citizens of the European Union and that's why our solidarity in Europe with those less fortunate in the world remains unwavering."
In 2013, ECHO was the single largest bilateral donor to RRMP with a total contribution of over 11.3 million euros (over 15.3 million dollars). Other contributors include the DRC Pooled Fund, the United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, and the governments of Sweden, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Korea.
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