© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-1328/Asselin

Adolescent survivors of sexual violence wait to be seen at a hospital in Goma. By late 2010, an estimated 1.7 million Congolese were still displaced by conflict, and sexual violence was continuing at catastrophic rates.

Children and women in crisis

Ongoing and newly emergent conflict and insecurity combined with chronic flooding, cholera and emergency-level malnutrition make the Democratic Republic of the Congo home to one of the world’s worst and most protracted humanitarian emergencies. Since the late 1990s, waves of violent conflict have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes; in late 2010, the displaced population was an estimated 1.7 million, more than half of them children.1 Sexual violence continues at catastrophic proportions. Children and youths are routinely forced into armed groups against their will. Ongoing conflict in the east and northeast and dysfunctional or non-existent infrastructure throughout the country make delivering humanitarian aid extremely challenging for reasons of security and physical access to communities in need.

Meeting urgent needs and building resilience in 2011

UNICEF and its network of partners are leaders in both humanitarian response and coordination in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2011, UNICEF will work with the Government, other UN agencies, and local and international NGOs as well as affected communities to meet the needs of more than 4 million boys and girls and their families. As lead agency for the nutrition, education, WASH, emergency shelter and non-food items clusters and the child-protection sub-cluster, UNICEF plays a central role in the planning, coordination, and provision of technical guidance related to humanitarian response in the country.

Humanitarian funding at work: Highlights from 2010

In 2010, UNICEF estimated that US$122,500,000 was needed for its humanitarian work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As of October 2010, a total of US$54,647,298 had been received, 45 per cent of the goal. While full funding would have permitted humanitarian assistance to reach a greater proportion of those in need, UNICEF was able to improve the conditions of children and women affected by emergencies in a number of ways. These included providing emergency relief kits to more than 134,000 families and basic water, hygiene and sanitation packages to 588,800 people, and treatment for 2,500 people with cholera. In addition, more than 55,000 children had better access to education, and 47,300 vulnerable or conflicted-affected children participated in child-friendly spaces.

Funding requirements for 2011

UNICEF is requesting US$115,290,000 to carry out its planned humanitarian activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This request is aligned with the 2011 Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP). Immediate and full funding is necessary to support the protection and recovery of women and children.

More information on achievements of 2010 and the humanitarian action planned for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2011 can be found at www.unicef.org/hac2011.

1 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) – Fact Sheet: Democratic Republic of Congo‘, UNHCR, Geneva, April 2010, p. 1.

UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2011 (in US dollars) Total $115,290,000