Since the 2011 presidential election, the security situation has dramatically deteriorated in the east of the country, with rebel activity widespread in much of the region.
Although the country has great agricultural potential and plentiful resources, more than 70 percent of its population remains poor. An estimated 6.4 million people are in acute and livelihood food security crisis as of June 2013. Since 2009, some 2.6 million people have been displaced, predominantly in the east.
In 2012, some 10 million people received humanitarian assistance, of whom 3.6 million benmefited from food assistance from WFP.
With close to 970,000 internally displaced people, North Kivu remains the most affected province. South Kivu hosts more than 800,000 displaced people. Maniema province has also been affected by population movement due to conflict. The numbers of displaced people in Maniema had crossed the 200,000 mark by the end of June 2013 while in Katanga, activity by armed groups has led to the displacement of some 370,000 people.
The overall food security situation has deteriorated in the eastern provinces. The Emergency Food Security Assessment of April 2012 showed that 19% of the population of North Kivu is severely food insecure while 42%is moderately food insecure, translating into 4.4 million people affected by food insecurity. The situation has clearly deteriorated since 2012. Most critically for the medium term, the recent surge in violence in North Kivu has coincided with both the harvest and planting seasons.
Acute malnutrition is a serious public health problem in the provinces affected by armed conflict (North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema, Katanga and Orientale) as well as in the more peaceful provinces (Kasai Oriental, Kasai occidental, Equateur, Bandundu).
Recent nutrition surveys show global acute malnutrition (GAM) rates that exceed the serious threshold of 10% in more than half of the DRC’s territories. Some areas show GAM rates above 15% or critical threshold for nutritional interventions. Chronic malnutrition rates (stunting) among children aged 6-59 months stands at 43.4%, a level rated as ‘critical’ by WHO.
In 2010, net school enrolment in DRC was low (75%) with significant disparities between provinces, and between urban and rural areas: 29% of children and adolescents (5 to 17 years) are out of school, more than half of them girls. Displacement areas have the highest percentage of out-of-school children, the highest being North Kivu with 44%.
Social indicators are distressing: life expectancy is 45 years and infant mortality stands at 158 per 1,000 children under the age of one. Almost half of adolescent girls have at least one child. Almost half the population has no access to drinking water and only 14% of households have adequate sanitation. The HIV rate in 2012 was 2.7%, equivalent to 1 million people living with the virus.