Ongoing fighting between government forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and M23 has created an unprecedented displacement crisis in the eastern part of the country forcing the already displaced to have to flee for their lives yet again.
Over 50,000 people need urgent supplies of food, water, and proper shelter after suddenly being displaced by the advances of armed groups in eastern DR Congo. Families have been forced to flee with almost nothing and are now surviving in squalid conditions outdoors, under trees, in school classrooms and churches where they are exposed to heavy downpours and with almost zero support.
“Families who have fled are in a desperate state. They have no food, almost no change of clothes, and are crammed into school classrooms that have been turned into shelters, with very limited access to toilets and clean water. In this situation the children are extremely vulnerable to hunger, ill health, disappearance, and sexual violence ” warns Aline Napon, World Vision’s National Director to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We need a rapid scale-up of emergency supplies that must include food, and where possible cash assistance, WASH and Dignity family kits (including a container to carry and store water, a bucket, soap, and basic menstrual towels) as well as ensuring secured humanitarian access to the affected communities,” says David Munkley who is leading World Vision’s interventions in East DRC.
World Vision is currently on the ground responding to multiple crises in the country with the support of food and water, protection, and psychosocial needs of the displaced population, but the needs outweigh the supply. As the current crisis escalates, World Vision plans to urgently provide emergency WASH and Dignity kits, in addition to exploring opportunities to deploy trained faith leaders to help with child-protection efforts in the camps of displaced persons.
DRC is already dealing with the world’s largest hunger crisis (27 million people, including 15.8m children, in need of humanitarian assistance.) and is home to Africa’s highest number of internally displaced people at over 5.6 million. The most recent displacements only add to the number. The escalation of violence has people fleeing in multiple directions around the affected communities, and this uprooting of people leads to many going without food and water, sleeping outside in crowded and squalid conditions that lack the necessary sanitation facilities, and often rendering the affected communities susceptible to the outbreak of diseases like cholera and dysentery. Additionally, children in such communities lose access to social services like education, and medical care, and in some cases, they die.