21 Jul 2017
There has been a “dramatic deepening” of the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the UN relief chief, Stephen O’Brien.
The Humanitarian Coordinator was speaking at the end of a four-day mission to the DRC and called on the world “not to forget” the country which now has the highest population of displaced, of any African nation.
Matt Wells reports.
During two days of travel outside the capital, Kinshasa, Mr O’Brien visited some of the communities most affected by the crisis, including Tshikapa in the restive Kasai region, where a year of conflict and rights abuses has displaced around 1.4 million.
Violence in the five provinces making up the Kasais has pushed thousands of children out of school, and 600 cases of sexual-based violence have been reported since last year.
The UN relief chief said millions of men, women, boys and girls, were suffering from violence, disease and malnutrition.
“In the last 12 months we have seen a dramatic deepening of this very acute crisis here in DRC, in fact the number of IDPs here in DRC, has jumped from 2.2 million to 3.8 million in just six months, and this now represents the highest IDP population of any African country.”
Mr O’Brien called for safe access for “courageous humanitarians” who are doing their utmost to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable, in remote areas.
Apart from record levels of IDPs, DRC is also dealing with a steady flow of refugees from neighbouring Burundi, Central African Republic, and South Sudan.
Matt Wells, United Nations.