KINSHASA – The World Food Programme (WFP) expresses concern about the dramatic increase of displaced people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who are in dire need of humanitarian support, including food assistance.
Eastern DRC is experiencing an intensification of armed conflict, with militia groups fighting to extend their zones of influence. Fighting and human right violations, including murders, looting, rapes and abductions, have led to massive population movement in North Kivu, South Kivu, North Katanga, Maniema and Province Orientale.
“In most cases, people have left behind their homes, their fields and livestock, which are their sole source of food and income,” said Martin Ohlsen, WFP Representative in DRC. “They are therefore – even if they just fled 20 km away from their village – cut off from any sort of support for their families.”
Between January and August 2012, WFP provided food assistance to about 730,000 people displaced in eastern DRC, living in camps, informal settlements or with host families.
Given the magnitude of the new displacements, and as the crisis is expected to continue, WFP has launched a new emergency operation covering September 2012 to June 2013, which will assist approximately 1.2 million people in five provinces.
“We need additional funding to be able to continue to assist this very poor population. So far we have mobilized only 15 percent of the total cost of this emergency operation, which is US$81 million,” said Ohlsen.
As an initial response, the beneficiaries receive high energy biscuits, followed by emergency food rations or, in areas where markets are functioning, cash or vouchers that allow them to purchase their own food.
WFP is boosting the use of innovative tools to increase the efficiency of its emergency assistance. The distribution of cash and vouchers, initiated earlier this year in areas where local markets can absorb additional demand, has proved to be cost effective and highly appreciated by 77,000 internally displaced people that have already benefited from them in North Kivu. This programme will be expanded to other provinces over the next few months and is planned to cover 188,000 people. WFP is currently completing a voucher distribution to 55,000 thousand Congolese who have resettled in Kanyaruchina, 10 km outside of Goma.
“It’s important not to forget that this crisis in the East is taking place in one of the poorest countries in the world, where 5.4 million people were already facing chronic hunger and malnutrition,” added Ohlsen.
The agency is simultaneously responding to the new displacement crisis while continuing to provide much needed support to the Congolese who face day-to-day struggles to feed themselves and their families. WFP remains committed to providing assistance to people affected by food insecurity, including the poorest Congolese, people displaced by earlier waves of violence, malnourished children and pregnant or nursing women, primary school children and people living with HIV/TB.
In addition to the US$81 million appeal for the new emergency operation, an additional US$84.6 million is required so the agency can continue to address chronic food insecurity in the country.
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Fabienne Pompey, WFP/Kinshasa, Tel. +243 97 0000 292, Mob. +243 815 527 089
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. +254 20 7622179, Mob. +254 707 722 104
Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 473 4570
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 5566909, Mob. +1 646 8241112