The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) express grave concern over the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the eats of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Fighting against armed groups and government forces have forcibly displaced over450,000 people in the last six weeks in Rutshuru and Masisi territories in North Kivu Province.
Jean Baptiste Munyanzinza is one of them. He and his family are staying at the Bushagara refugee camp after being forced to flee attacks which reached their home.
Bushagara refugee some 20 kilometers north of the provincial capital.
“Many people still don't have shelter and emergency kits like us. While we are here, we can access help for food. But we don’t want this life of begging. At home, we had fields, cattle, and we lived very well
“The most important thing is to stop the war so that we can return home.”
As the country gears towards elections, many like Munyanzinza are mostly concerned by peace.
The UNHCR and UNICEF say the crisis is made worse by the limited humanitarian access to those in need, primarily due to the obstruction of major routes.
Adding that eventhough the UNHCR has built shelters in recent months for more than 40,000 people near the provincial capital of Goma, and distributed kits containing tarps, cooking pots, and blankets, the international community must urgently address the obstruction of humanitarian access to ensure that the nearly 7 million people affected by conflict in eastern DRC receive urgent help.
Protection monitoring reports collected by UNHCR and partners in October show over 3,000 reported human rights violations in October, nearly double the figure from the previous month. Rape and arbitrary killings feature prominently in these results, along with kidnappings, extortion, and the destruction of property.
The number of overall violations reported against children between July and September 2023, recorded by child protection partners, saw a sharp increase (130 percent) to 2018 cases on top of the already high number of violations reported for the first half of the year. The humanitarian response in the DRC is significantly underfunded. For 2023, the coordinated Humanitarian Response Plan, which includes both UNHCR and UNICEF financial needs, is set at USD 2.3 billion, but as of today, it is only 37 percent funded.
The humanitarian response in the DRC is significantly underfunded, the U.N bodies say. For 2023, the coordinated Humanitarian Response Plan, which includes both UNHCR and UNICEF financial needs, is set at US$2.3 billion, but as of today, it is only 37 percent funded.