Democratic Republic of the Congo
Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
What are the current issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
The situation in one of the poorest and least developed nations on earth, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is being complicated by a variety of factors including widespread and extreme poverty, numerous armed conflicts in Eastern provinces, political crises in neighboring Central Africa Republic and Burundi, as well as mounting tensions ahead of planned presidential elections in 2016.
Internally displaced persons and refugees
With some 2.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country, fighting between the national army and as many as 40 armed groups continues to drive people from their homes. More than 1.5 million former IDPs have returned to their homes in the past 18 months, often to find that their houses and possessions have been destroyed or looted. Meanwhile, an estimated 120,000 refugees are now living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including more than 100,000 from neighboring Central African Republic.
According to the results of the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey, eight percent of children under the age of five - nearly one million children - suffer from acute malnutrition and 43 percent - or about six million children – suffer from chronic malnutrition. Child mortality rates are among the highest in the world.
A nationwide study carried out in December 2014 found that there are more than 6.5 million people – 10 percent of the population – in a situation of acute food insecurity. Most of these food-insecure people live in the conflict-affected provinces of the country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in natural resources and is endowed with the world's second largest rainforest. However, decades of war and mismanagement have resulted in economic stagnation and a deterioration of its infrastructure. Food insecurity affects millions throughout the country.
What the World Food Programme is doing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (June 2013 to December 2015) aims to assist 3.6 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It provides life-saving food assistance for internally displaced people in conflict-affected areas; supports the early recovery of people returning to their areas of origin; ensures children attend school by providing emergency school feeding to displaced children; reduces malnutrition through supplemental support to children aged 6-59 months as well as to pregnant and nursing women; and makes local markets more accessible to smallholder farmers.
In 2015, WFP plans to provide food assistance to some 96,000 refugees living in camps near the Ubangi River, the natural frontier between the two countries. As conflict in CAR escalates, it is expected that needs for those affected will remain high for the foreseeable future.
Food security cluster
Co-lead by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and WFP, and co-facilitated with Action against Hunger, the Food Security Cluster in the Democratic Republic of the Congo coordinates food security responses to displaced people and optimizes collaboration with UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, donors and other stakeholders.
The Special Operation for Logistics Cluster Coordination and Information Management provides a range of logistics support and services to the humanitarian community to ensure the efficient and coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The Special Operation for the Provision of Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) provides safe, reliable, efficient and cost-effective air transport services to humanitarian organisations and donor representatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
WFP is strengthening smallholder farmers’ access to agricultural commodity markets. This is done by developing farmers’ capacity to produce and trade, as well as constructing/rehabilitating infrastructure to help farmers connect with markets and traders. It also helps build marketing infrastructure in rural areas to facilitate commodity bulking and value added transformation.
Featured Congo, DR publications
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