Escalating Violence in DRC Compounds Humanitarian Crisis: NGOs Alarmed
Renewed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) hampers humanitarian efforts, increases displacement and exacerbates the ongoing crisis, warn leading NGOs.
In a pressing call to action, three leading international non-profit organizations: The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), Handicap International (HI), and Première Urgence International (PUI), have raised alarm bells over the escalating violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The humanitarian crisis in the Mweso and Kitchanga districts of the North Kivu province has intensified following the resumption of heavy fights since October 20, 2023. The ongoing conflict has critically hampered the organizations' ability to reach communities in desperate need of assistance, further exacerbating the crisis.
The recent wave of violence has resulted in increased displacement, with a shocking figure of 198,976 people having to flee their homes. This displacement is particularly pronounced in the health districts of Mweso and Kitchanga, with towns such as Tongo, Bwiza, Bukombo, Mweso, and Kitchanga bearing the brunt. The Mweso health district alone reported over 100,000 newly internally displaced persons (IDPs) since the clashes began. The Rutshuru health district has also seen an influx of more than 30,000 new IDPs. The frequent involuntary relocations have compounded the health risks and safety for these displaced populations.
The situation presents a grim picture for vulnerable groups – women, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly – who are at a higher risk due to the volatile security situation. The organizations highlight the urgent need for shelter, health and psychological support, sanitation, nutrition, and protection, noting that women and children are at a heightened risk of sexual abuse and violence. Moreover, people with disabilities are facing severe difficulties in accessing basic services due to physical barriers and lack of suitable accommodations and services to meet their specific needs.
In this dire context, the NGOs underline the importance of ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches those who need it most. However, key access routes, including Mweso-Kitchanga-Goma, have been blocked due to their proximity to the frontlines of the violence, making it impossible for humanitarian teams to deploy.
The organizations are calling for immediate action, including the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to Mweso and Rutshuru health districts, continuity of care for internally displaced persons, and a rapid, effective, and coordinated multisectoral humanitarian response for displaced populations. They also urge the allocation of sufficient and flexible funding to meet the escalating needs, and a cessation of violence directed at civilians by the warring parties.
With the humanitarian needs continuing to mount, ALIMA, HI, and PUI are pledging to coordinate their efforts to respond as swiftly as possible. They also call for the international rights of humanitarian workers and civilians to be respected amid the ongoing conflict. The appeals by these organizations underscore the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate international attention and action.
Source: Heavy fighting resumes in Masisi and Rutshuru, Democratic Republic of the Congo - Democratic Republic of the Congo | ReliefWeb. (2023, November 4). Reliefweb.int. https://reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/heavy-fighting-resumes-masisi-and-rutshuru-democratic-republic-congo?utm_source=rw-subscriptions&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=country_updates_75
Mapping the Human Cost: Fatalities in DRC's Conflict Zones Highlight Urgent Need for Action
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains embroiled in a complex web of conflicts, with recent data shedding light on the stark human toll in various locations and involving numerous actors. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) has released figures that paint a grim picture of the casualties across the nation, calling for urgent international attention and intervention.
The DRC's landscape is marred by a labyrinth of hostilities involving an array of actors, each with distinct motives and methods, which together weave a tapestry of turmoil that has plagued the country for decades.
To see the full analysis and key data points from the full report subscribe now.