Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s conflict-driven hunger crisis is worsening as violence in the eastern provinces surges, forcing families to flee again. While more and more people arrive in already overcrowded camps, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is struggling to feed those most in need, because humanitarian funding fails to keep pace.

The conflict has displaced nearly one million people in the DRC since the start of the year, with most arriving in Goma; this has led to food shortages and pushed the price of food in Goma’s markets out of reach for many.

In response, WFP has vastly expanded its emergency operations in the East—tripling the number of people it is reaching with food assistance from an average of 400,000 people in May 2023 to an average of 1.3 million people today. However, the UN food agency does not have the funds to keep this emergency response going.

On a recent visit to Goma, WFP’s Executive Director, Cindy McCain, witnessed firsthand the horrors unfolding for millions affected by the conflict.

“The city of Goma is surrounded by tens of thousands of temporary shelters, and the numbers are growing every single day. The displaced people crammed into them urgently require food, clean water and sanitation. WFP needs the support of donors and partners to step up our response to this worsening crisis and provide badly needed assistance to people living in the camps before it’s too late,” said Executive Director McCain.

Around a quarter of DRC’s population – 23.4 million people – are facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. Many live in poor and cramped conditions with little or no access to food, health services, and education.

At the heart of a deepening hunger crisis lies a catastrophic situation for women and girls, particularly those living in IDP camps. Women and girls face a constant threat of sexual violence, particularly when they go searching for firewood to sell to buy food for their families.  Putting food assistance in the hands of women and providing them with livelihood opportunities is key to curbing the horrifying rates of gender-based violence in DRC.

WFP needs US$ 548.5 million to keep comprehensive operations running in the DRC. At minimum, WFP needs US$425 million for the next six months to support those most in need in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where violence has led to mass displacement.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).

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