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Congolese Situation - Responding to the needs of displaced Congolese and refugees - Supplementary Appeal, January - December 2018

DR Congo
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4.49 million People displaced within DRC

630,500 Congolese refugees hosted in the region

78% Of Congolese refugees are women and children

8 Countries covered in this Appeal

With some 630,500 Congolese refugees in the region and 4.49 million IDPs, the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s most complex, challenging, protracted and forgotten crises. Since 2015, the number of people displaced internally has more than doubled, some 428,000 of these having been displaced in the past three months alone.

Intercommunal conflict in the Kasai region has been displacing thousands of people—with 8,000 people internally displaced per day since April 2017—and with tens of thousands having fled to Angola.

The security situation has also continued to deteriorate in the eastern DRC, in particular in the provinces of Haut-Katanga, North and South Kivu and Tanganyika, due to incessant fighting between armed groups—much of it driven by intercommunal conflict—and the army. In October 2017, the Emergency Relief Coordinator declared an IASC System-Wide L3 Emergency Response for the DRC, focusing on the Kasai region, South Kivu and Tanganyika provinces.

The on-going conflicts in the DRC have caused and continue to cause internal and external displacement of populations, and loss of human life and property. Violence in the Kasai region,
South Kivu and Tanganyika is estimated to have displaced 1.9 million people over the past year. The province of North Kivu remains the most affected with more than 1 million IDPs, followed by South Kivu and Tanganyika. Concurrently, and complicating the situation, some 1.8 million displaced people have started returning to their home villages, including some 1.4 million in the Kasais, where they are faced with abandoned services and destroyed infrastructure, including their own homes.

Over the past year, some 120,000 Congolese have fled as refugees to neighbouring countries—in Uganda, Angola, Zambia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Burundi, the Republic of Congo and Rwanda— joining the 510,000 already in exile. In addition, several thousand have also fled to southern Africa, and to countries such as Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya and South Sudan, and beyond Africa itself. Most governments in hosting countries are keeping their borders open, allowing UNHCR access to the asylum seekers and refugees as they arrive.

The majority of the Congolese refugees are women and children, and nearly 53 percent of Congolese refugees hosted in neighbouring countries are under 18. UNHCR has also identified many unaccompanied and separated children, as well as older people at risk and female-headed households, all of whom require urgent protection.

With militia activities widespread, and unrest and violence fuelled by ethnic and political conflict affecting many areas within the DRC, the risk of further displacement is high. OCHA expects 2.4 million newly displaced people within the DRC in 2018. At the same time, it is also estimated that some 650,000 IDPs will also return to their villages of origin. UNHCR expects the influx to neighbouring countries will continue and that an estimated 176,500 people will likely seek refuge in 2018, bringing the estimated refugee population to 807,000—an increase by 28 per cent—by the end of December 2018.

The challenges of getting aid to people in need are complex and growing fast. Protection and assistance needs are enormous. Newly arrived refugees and newly internally displaced populations come in addition to prior refugee and IDP populations for whom resources at the disposal of governments and UNHCR have been decreasing these last several years. What is available is largely insufficient to cover basic needs. For example, in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and other countries of asylum, refugee settlements and camps are at full capacity. Funds for livelihood interventions are stretched, prolonging as such refugees’ dependence on external assistance.

This Appeal presents UNHCR’s strategic objectives and financial requirements for its response to current as well as expected Congolese refugees and IDP and returnee populations, and for which it is seeking $368.7 million, including $72.3 million in urgent additional requirements from January through to December 2018. Within the DRC, UNHCR is scaling up its protection and emergency response to people displaced within the Level 3 areas. At the same time, the urgent needs of displaced people in Haut Katanga, Ituri and North Kivu Provinces in particular will continue to be of concern to the Office.

While continuing to assist States protect and care for existing Congolese refugee populations in seven main host countries and other countries in Southern Africa witnessing secondary movements of Congolese refugees, UNHCR will focus its efforts on protection and lifesaving response in those countries receiving major influxes—Angola, Uganda, and Zambia—and it will continue preparedness activities in Burundi, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and the United Republic of Tanzania.