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Map of Democratic Republic of the Congo
UNICEF photo: a group of children play a game outside © UNICEF/DRC/Patrick Rose/2017

Democratic Republic of the Congo

In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 suffering from SAM treated

1.9 million

children immunized against measles


separated and unaccompanied children identified and reunited with their families

2017 Requirements: US$165,067,070

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Total people in need: 8.5 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 5.1 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 4.4 million
Total children to be reached in 2017: 2.6 million

For more than two decades, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been plagued by multiple, complex conflicts with grave humanitarian consequences. In light of the upsurge of intercommunal conflicts in the greater Kasai as well as Tanganyika regions in early 2017, more than 3.8 million people are currently displaced internally throughout the country - the highest number for any single country in all of Africa. In addition, the influx of South Sudanese has increased the refugee caseload in DRC now amounting to more than 460,000 refugees. Some 8.5 million people are estimated to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including 5.1 million children. Throughout DRC, an estimated two million children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) – with a potential impact on child morbidity and mortality rates in 2017. Epidemics outbreaks continue to threaten children’s survival and health. Cholera remains a constant threat, with more than 20,000 cases and case fatality of 1.9 per cent already reported this year. Other health epidemics such as Measles, Polio and Ebola outbreaks are also considerable challenges for populations throughout the country. As more than 1.4 million people are displaced in the 5 most affected by the Kasai conflict, the basic rights of more than 7 million children are at risk. All six grave violations against children are ongoing in the Kasaï, including forced recruitment of children, regular reports on cases of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as attacks on Health Centres and schools depriving more than 700,000 students from access to education. Throughout the country, natural disasters such as flooding in the west, and recently landslide in the east continue to threaten children and their families.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets [2]


  • 310,609 children under 5 suffering from SAM treated


  • 1.9 million children immunized against measles
  • 300,000 people affected by conflict and disease outbreaks accessing primary health care


  • 1.7 million persons at risk of cholera provided with WASH package
  • 1.3 million conflict and natural disaster-affected persons accessing WASH
  • 128,800 SAM children and host family receiving WASH assistance

Child protection

  • 3,600 children formerly associated with armed forces/groups released and provided with temporary assistance
  • 7,000 survivors of sexual violence provided with a comprehensive response
  • 9,600 of separated and unaccompanied children identified and reunited with their families


  • 359,900 girls and boys aged 5 to 11 years affected by conflict or natural disasters received access to quality education and psychosocial activities


  • 900,000 internally displaced persons benefited from NFI/shelter assistance


  • 1.7 million internally displaced persons benefited from multi-sectoral assistance

Multipurpose cash transfer

  • 366,450 persons received multipurpose cash assistance

In 2017, UNICEF is providing large-scale, rapid, multi-sectoral assistance in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health and non-food items (NFIs), education and child protection to affected populations. Rapid Need Assessments and response capacity for the Rapid Response to Movement of Population (RRMP) mechanism will be pre-positioned and expanded to the Kasai region. UNICEF will mobilize additional resources to scale up its current community based response in the Greater Kasai region. Community-based treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) will reach more than 310,000 children. Multipurpose cash transfer programming will target more than 360,000 people, focusing on displaced and emergency-affected children, with a total of 80 per cent of the response being planned in the Greater Kasai. Emergency health and WASH supplies will be pre-positioned at the provincial level to respond to disease outbreaks, such as cholera and measles and UNICEF will support approaches for the prevention of gender-based violence prevention, including referral mechanisms for care. UNICEF leads education, WASH, nutrition, and NFI/shelter clusters at national and provincial levels, as well as the child protection working group. UNICEF also coordinates the cash working group as well as multi-sector humanitarian response, primarily through the RRMP.

Results as of August 2017

As of 31 August 2017, UNICEF had received US$ 35.1 million against the US$ 165,067,070 million appeal (21 per cent funded).3 Despite a significant gap in available funding, UNICEF has reached more than 1,000,000 people in need of emergency assistance as of August 2017, including more than 215,000 persons in Kasai only. More than 150,000 children with SAM were admitted for treatment. UNICEF played a critical role in the response to and coordination of the cholera outbreak, supporting close to 355,000 people with WASH packages in cholera-affected areas. As of August 2017, UNICEF vaccinated more than 360,000 children against measles. With regards to the Ebola response, UNICEF played active roles in communication and social mobilization, WASH and logistics, and health care. The RRMP assisted more than 600,000 people in education, health, WASH, NFI and emergency shelter as well as 200,000 persons through the Alternative Responses for Communities in Crisis cash transfer programme in the Kasais, enabling affected population to recover their livelihoods. A total of 75,000 children affected by conflict or natural disasters given access to quality education and psychosocial activities. UNICEF further assisted 1,524 children exiting armed forces and groups and reached more than 56,000 displaced and refugee children with psychosocial support.

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Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2017–2019 HRP, and the Flash Appeal Kasai4, UNICEF is increasing the funding needs from US$119 million to US$165,067,070 to support children and families in need of humanitarian assistance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With a multi-year (2017–2019) Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) costed at US$2.3 billion, the current political turmoil towards chronic humanitarian crises has had a negative impact on funding levels despite the ongoing urgent needs for humanitarian assistance across DRC. Without continued strong support for this protracted humanitarian emergency, UNICEF and partners will be unable to continue to support vulnerable populations.

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1 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Humanitarian Dashboard – First Semester 2017’
2 UNICEF targets include targeted beneficiary for Ebola & the Greater Kasai crisis response plans, updated in August 2017.
3 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$40 million and US$14.5 million carried forward from the previous year.
4 Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo HRP is a multi-year document, it has been established with a strategy, cluster needs assessment, targets and funding requirements for one year. This Humanitarian Action for Children appeal is accordingly aligned in duration.
5 Funding requirements have been adjusted based on the Kasai crisis and Ebola response plan
6 The requirement takes into account the costs of supplies and technical support for children affected by SAM; SAM programme management will be made by international non-governmental organizations funded directly by donors.
7 UNICEF established a RRMP mechanism for Kasai including health, nutrition, WASH and NFI.
8 Health costs are reduced from 2016 following a review of the minimum intervention package, testing of some cash approaches and using the RRMP mechanism to reach more people and saving on transaction costs (e.g. with one partnership agreement covering multiple sectors).
9 UNICEF decided to focus its resources and capacity on key issues where UNICEF has an added value in the Democratic Republic of the Congo such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; children associated with armed forces and armed groups; sexual and gender-based violence and socio-economic reintegration. In addition, the caseload of unaccompanied and separated children has drastically increased due to Kasai crisis as DDR programme has not be approved by the government in the Greater Kasai and children enrolled with armed group are considered as unaccompanied and separated children.
10 Increased needs in Greater Kasai have been reported in education sector.
11 The initial RRMP is implemented only on Eastern Congo (Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika, Haut Katanga). Additional needs related to Kasai RRMP have been included in the total ask.
12 The RRMP budget was adjusted according to its latest review of sector packages. This total amount targets only Eastern Congo affected provinces: North-Kivu, South-Kivu, Ituri, Tanganyika, Haut-Katanga. The Greater Kasai Rapid Response is included in sectoral budgets.
13 In 2016, UNICEF developed an assessment tool to determine the minimum basket expenditure for its cash intervention. In addition, UNICEF will use the RRMP mechanism to reach part of its targeted population. Going at scale has demonstrated a drastic decrease in the cost of transfer ratio.
14 Includes logistic and IT specific requirements for ebola response for a total of US$734,540 in addition to additional costs estimated for the scale up of Kasai response, including the setup of one new field office in Kasai Province and the upgrading of current field office of Kananga (Kasai Central province) and Mbuji-Mayi (Kasai Oriental).