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Palais Briefing Note on the Worsening Hunger Situation in DRC

This is a summary of what was said by Tomson Phiri, WFP Spokesperson for Southern Africa - to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

GENEVA, Tuesday, 20 June 2023 – I am here to give you a brief overview of one of the most complex and challenging humanitarian situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

I just returned from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). I witnessed the acute and complex humanitarian crisis unfolding, driven by the unprecedented conflict escalating food insecurity.

Eastern Congo is a classic example of a forgotten crisis - The region has all the ingredients of a humanitarian catastrophe - conflict, constrained access, a socio-economic and climate crisis, and a crippling funding shortage.

The east of the country is grappling with active non-state armed groups, aggravating the ongoing cycle of violence, triggering massive population displacement, and exacerbating an already fragile humanitarian situation.

About 5.7 million people have been displaced since March 2022 in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri. 6.2 million people have fled their homes across the country, the highest number in Africa. The country is continental in size, with acres of space, but millions of people have no choice but live in overcrowded camps.

The protracted crisis has significantly deteriorated with an upsurge in large-scale needs.

Today’s situation is not business as usual; neither is it business to be delayed for tomorrow, nor is it simply another “bad day in Congo.”

The humanitarian operation cannot adequately respond, and those who have fled violence live in precarious conditions in makeshift shelters or with already overburdened host families. They have little access to clean water, health centers, and land to farm on.


DRC is a country of Conflicting Opposites

A country that produces the most precious metal in making the latest technologies has the highest number of food insecure people worldwide. Approximately 25.8 million people will face acute food insecurity in 2023 - three times the population of Switzerland.

The climate crisis is worsening an already fragile humanitarian situation. At least 400 people were killed in the flooding last month; around 3,000 homes were destroyed, and 108,000 have been internally displaced, devastatingly affecting their livelihoods and access to vital supply lifelines. The host communities, now more than ever, also face the risk of hunger and need emergency intervention.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has activated a Corporate Scale-Up for eastern DRC to ramp up assistance to reach 3.6 million vulnerable people in the next six months. 

This is the highest form of alert, but there is a significant gap between the number of people in need and those being reached with food assistance. Notwithstanding significant operational, administrative, security, and access challenges, humanitarian organizations and WFP have remained committed to providing life-saving assistance to people affected by the crisis.

WFP is concerned that the people's situation might worsen unless humanitarian assistance is scaled up. We need to match the increasing needs of the affected people.

WFP needs US$ 870 million for humanitarian response in the DRC. However, there is a funding shortfall of US$ 738.5 million (85 percent). We count on you to help us fulfil our assistance to the people of the DRC.

Photo Package:Democratic Republic of the Congo facing a complex humanitarian crisis driven by armed conflict, displacement, natural disasters, and chronic poverty

DRC Country Director’s Statement:


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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.


Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media, @WFP_DRC, @WFP_SAfrica @PhiriTomson


For media interviews:


Tomson Phiri, WFP/Johannesburg, Mob. +27 81 026 3792

Shelley Thakral, WFP/Kinshasa, Mob. +243 81 700 6744

Claude Kalinga, WFP/Kinshasa, Mob. +243 81 700 6714