Humanitarian action is central to UNICEF's mandate and realizing the rights of every child.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is in the grip of one of the world's most complex and protracted crises. Across the country, 26.4 million people, including 15.4 million children, need humanitarian assistance.
There are now more than 6.3 million displaced people in the DRC – the highest number in Africa and the second highest globally. Most of these displaced people are in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu.
The DRC is the country with the highest number of verified grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict. More than 3,377 grave violations against 2,420 children were verified in 2022.
The recruitment or use of children in armed forces and armed groups is on the increase, as is the killing and mutilation of children. Thousands of children in DRC are recruited and used in armed conflicts.
In addition to the escalation of armed conflicts, the DRC continues to face epidemic outbreaks. In 2022, the country experienced two Ebola epidemics, and the cholera and measles situation remains critical.
Across the country, more than 1.3 million children under the age of 5 need treatment for severe wasting, 3.9 million women and children need emergency protection services, 6.6 million children need emergency water and sanitation, and 2.7 million children need emergency education support.
Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF is adopting a needs-based approach to respond to a multi-faceted and intensifying humanitarian crisis, with the aim of ensuring that 75 per cent of children in need receive assistance by 2023. UNICEF plans to treat 995,800 children suffering from severe wasting, provide psychosocial and mental health support to 2 million children and caregivers at community level, give 1.7 million children access to formal or non-formal education, and provide 3.4 million people with sufficient quantities of clean water.
UNICEF Rapid Response (UNIRR)
UNICEF's rapid response program (UniRR) is the fastest in-kind response mechanism in eastern DRC, with an average of 7 days between an initial evaluation of needs and the provision of assistance. In 2022, some 760,000 displaced people received essential non-food supplies.
A rapid response to cholera
More than a million people benefited from UNICEF's rapid response to cholera, using the Case-Area Targeted Intervention (CATI) approach in 2022. They received cholera kits, had their households decontaminated and learned about good hygiene practices within 48 hours of being notified of a cholera case.