UNICEF's emergency scale-up in eastern DRC
The deteriorating humanitarian situation is putting millions of children at risk. UNICEF together with partners is providing support for those in need.
The humanitarian situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has seen a significant increase in humanitarian needs since early 2022 due to conflict and internal displacement, compounded by climate-related disasters and recurrent health outbreaks. The provinces of Ituri and North Kivu are at the epicentre of the crisis with spillover into South Kivu.
In eastern DRC, 4.9 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, including 2.8 million children. In the three eastern provinces, 1.5 million people have been newly displaced this year.
The violence in the east is characterised by the deliberate targeting of civilians, displacement camps, hospitals and schools. Children are being killed, maimed, abducted and recruited into armed groups. There is also an alarming increase in sexual- and gender-based violence especially against children and adolescent girls.
Eastern DRC is also grappling with cholera and measles outbreaks. In the year to date, there have been more than 20,000 cases of cholera in North Kivu and South Kivu – where 83 per cent of cases are concentrated – which represents a threefold increase compared with the same period in 2022. Fatality rates are exceeding 5 per cent in in several zones. Current projections put the number of cases at 60,000 by year end, exceeding the peak of the 2017 cholera outbreak.
Children have the right to grow up in safety and dignity. They have the right to play, attend school, drink clean water, have enough to eat and get the healthcare they need. Children in DRC are at risk of being forgotten, their suffering ignored.
UNICEF is scaling up its operations in eastern DRC to provide lifesaving assistance via its water and hygiene, and health and nutrition programmes. UNICEF is also ramping up its child protection, education and cash assistance programmes to support an environment in which children not only survive but can thrive.