The Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing a significant escalation of violence and armed conflict. In the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika, and in the Kasaï region, violence has forced more than 2.1 million people to leave their homes. As of mid-2018, an estimated 12.8 million people were at risk of severe food insecurity and acute malnutrition, representing a 30 per cent increase since 2017. The cholera epidemic persisted in 2018, with over 25,000 cases and 857 deaths by early October. Two Ebola outbreaks took place in Équateur and North Kivu provinces during the year, with 388 cases and 242 deaths recorded. The Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri is still ongoing. The humanitarian community estimates that in 2019, 12.8 million people will require assistance and protection across the country, including 4.2 million children at risk of global acute malnutrition (GAM). The situation is compounded by violations of children’s rights, including children out of school, forced recruitment by armed groups and sexual abuse.
These violations are preventing more than 5.6 million children from accessing their basic rights, such as education, health care, safe water and adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities.
In 2019, UNICEF will continue to provide an integrated, multi-sectoral response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, primarily in the regions facing constant population displacement and epidemics, including Ebola. The Rapid Response to Movements of Population (RRMP) mechanism will target areas affected by shocks and mass displacement and provide a multi-sectoral package, including non-food items, multipurpose unconditional cash transfers and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. In post-conflict areas, UNICEF will re-establish or reinforce access to social services to ensure a protective environment for children. UNICEF and partners will be among the first responders to outbreaks, including of Ebola, providing prevention and control through WASH, nutrition and health assistance, education, psychosocial support and communication for development activities. Outreach for the screening, referral and treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) will be increased to absorb a larger share of the national SAM burden in health facilities and communities. Child protection services will include the provision of psychosocial support and early learning, early stimulation and learning through play activities for children who are displaced, separated, unaccompanied, formerly associated with armed groups and/or survivors of sexual violence.
UNICEF will continue to lead four clusters8 and the child protection sub-cluster and co-lead the Cash Working Group.
Results from 2018
As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$109 million available against the US$268.1 million appeals (41 per cent funded).9 UNICEF provided basic WASH services to more than 828,000 people affected by conflict and natural disasters and responded to the unprecedented cholera and Ebola outbreaks by providing WASH response packages to nearly 2.4 million people in Ebola-prone zones. Through UNICEF’s nutrition interventions, more than 220,000 children with SAM were admitted for therapeutic care, with a cure rate of nearly 87 per cent. Nearly 717,000 children were vaccinated against measles; and medical drugs were provided to treat over 25,000 cholera cases. In addition, nearly 246,000 displaced, refugee and returnee children gained safe access to community spaces for socialization, play and learning, and more than 5,000 unaccompanied and separated children were placed in alternative care arrangements. Given the rise in population movements, the RRMP played a key role in assisting internally displaced persons, returnees and host families through a multisectoral package that included non-food items, multipurpose cash transfers and WASH services. These services reached some 1,642,000 people.