Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- The Congo is prone to annual flooding and remains at risk due to a potential spillover of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – threats that are compounded by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. There are also 170,000 asylum seekers and 48,400 refugees from the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda currently in the Congo, and over 77,000 internally displaced persons in the Pool region.
- UNICEF will deliver an integrated package of interventions in health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and protection. In addition to delivering essential services for children under 5 years, school-aged children and pregnant and lactating women, UNICEF will build the capacities of service providers and caregivers to participate in the response.
- UNICEF is requesting US$11.9 million to meet the humanitarian needs of at-risk people in the Congo in 2021.
Key planned results for 2021
37,000 children admitted for treatment for severe acute malnutrition
174,194 children vaccinated against measles
264,990 people reached with critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services
448,210 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
The humanitarian situation in the Congo is characterized by the presence of asylum seekers and refugees from nearby countries; internal displacement following the 2016 presidential elections and the conflict in the Pool region; heightened risk of Ebola outbreaks along the river corridor bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an area frequently affected by floods; and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 1.2 million people – more than half of whom are children – will need humanitarian assistance in 2021.
Displacement remains a significant challenge. The Likouala region is hosting more than 27,000 refugees from the Central African Republic and 21,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are settled in Bétou district. In Likouala, access to safe water and sanitation services is limited: only 48 per cent of households have access to adequate sanitation and 64 per cent have access to protected water sources. The Plateaux region is hosting nearly 8,500 asylum-seekers who fled deadly intercommunal conflict in the Mai-Ndombe Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December 2018. One third of the asylum-seekers are children in need of psychosocial support and education. More than 77,000 internally displaced persons (50 per cent children) have returned home following the 2018 ceasefire agreements in the Pool region. These populations are struggling to access basic social services.
Nearly 170,000 people were affected by the 2019 flooding due to torrential rains in Cuvette, Likouala, Plateaux and Sangha departments. These regions, which are vulnerable to cholera and hosting refugees and asylum seekers, are the also at risk of a potential spillover of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, nearly 74,000 children under 5 years are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
In 2021, UNICEF will deliver an integrated package of interventions to affected populations, including life-saving health and nutrition services; water and sanitation facilities; support to adopt key hygiene practices; child protection services; and quality education.
In collaboration with partners, the response will revolve around three key strategies: (1) building the capacities of service providers and caregivers; (2) supporting timely and effective service delivery of essential health, nutrition, WASH, protection and education interventions, especially for children under 5 years and pregnant and lactating women and children of school-age; and (3) providing supplies.
As the sector lead agency for nutrition, WASH and education, UNICEF will help strengthen coordination among sector partners, particularly at the sub-national level, and will continue to support care for children with SAM and infant and young child feeding services in the country’s 12 regions. As co-lead for protection, UNICEF will build the capacities of the Government and civil society partners to prevent and respond to all types of violence, including gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse.
To strengthen the linkages between humanitarian action and development programmes, UNICEF will reinforce community resilience and systems and build the capacities of implementing partners and Government counterparts. This will include strengthening the national data collection system.
Given that Ebola continues to reemerge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF will intensify efforts to prevent the disease in vulnerable communities and border areas. To strengthen preparedness, UNICEF will support communities to prevent Ebola infection through community engagement, risk communication and surveillance in high-risk areas.
In 2021, all indicators will be disaggregated by sex and age in order to better understand and target the different needs of men, women, children, boys and girls and respond with a gender equality, life-cycle and equity approaches. Awareness-raising activities on good health practices will target not only women, but also men to ensure shared responsibility.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in the Congo; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.