• UNICEF’s response to the North Kivu and Ituri Ebola outbreak can be found on a biweekly basis in the Ebola specific situation reports: https://www.unicef.org/appeals/drc_sitreps.html
• Kasai and Kwango: hundreds of Congolese nationals continue to return to DRC from Angola on a daily basis.
• Voluntary surrender of more than 500 militia members in Kasai and Kasai provinces, among those 60 children, after the announcement of the final presidential election results.
• Cholera has been declared as epidemic by the Ministry of Health in Haut Katanga province (944 cases; 26 deaths in January 2019).
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In accordance with the joint Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) (2017 – 2019), there are an estimated 13.1 million people in need in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), affected by armed conflicts and mass displacements, human rights abuses and sexual and gender-based violence, food insecurity and malnutrition, health epidemics and natural disasters.
The month of January was particularly characterized by a volatile security situation in the aftermath of the presidential elections, while the overall humanitarian situation remained complex and challenging:
• Since October 2018, a total of 699,748 Congolese returning from Angola have crossed the border to DRC. While the initial influx of thousand returnees per day has decreased to a daily return of hundreds of people in several areas. In Kamako in the territory of Kamonia, Kasai Province, e.g., an average of 200 persons cross the border on a daily basis. The humanitarian situation remains precarious in the areas of arrival and requires a concerted response.
• Armed conflict is ongoing in Ituri province, in the northern part of Djugu territory, and characterized by activism of several militia groups and interventions by the armed forces of the DR Congo (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo, FARDC) as well as inter-community conflicts, causing the displacement of ca. 12,000 people, among those 450 school children, as reported by local authorities. Humanitarian activities, including those of the RRMP project, had to be temporarily suspended for two weeks. Despite the volatile security situation, according to local civil society reports, the population has returned to their homes in 40 out of 45 chiefdoms which were affected by the 2018 crisis. According to the latest report of the Education provincial division, school education has resumed at 124 out of the 150 schools that were destroyed between February and June 2018, even though classes have to be held in sheds, churches and residential houses.
• In Tanganyika as well as Haut Katanga province, several areas of humanitarian concern, in particular with regard to population displacements and returns, remain inaccessible due to confrontations between militia groups and FARDC.
• Humanitarian support was further hampered in South Kivu province due to armed violence, which led to the displacement of 10,000 individuals. In accordance with the report of the inter-agency mission coordinated by OCHA, in the territory of Kabare, ca. 7000 people have returned since December.
• Pursuant to the announcement of the final presidential election results, a wave of voluntary surrenders of militias in Kasai and Kasai Central provinces were observed. More than 500 militias laid down their arms and requested assistance as well as their integration into the armed forces. Among them, a total of 60 children have already been identified while age verification is ongoing at the different sites where the militia have been gathered. While out of those 60 children, 26 children have been placed in host families, 34 children were with their families or still in the site of identification. The Child Protection team has been looking for a transit centre to place them.
• In the province of Mai-Ndombe, following the inter-ethnic violence of December 2018, a multi-sectoral needs assessment was conducted by OCHA in cooperation with UNICEF, WHO, WFP, UNHCR and several NGO partners (27 Jan. – 02 Feb.)
o In terms of child protection needs, few cases of family separation have been identified but there is an urgent need to implement psychosocial support activities for children and adolescents in both communities affected by the conflict. UNICEF is currently exploring the option to select a partner, who can intervene in this volatile area.
o In terms of nutrition, in Yumbi health zone of Mai-Ndombe province, identified needs include nutrition screening or survey and implementation of lifesaving nutrition approaches and interventions such as Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), blanket and supplementary feeding and Infant and Young Child feeding program in Emergency (IYCF-E).
o With regard to children’s access to education in Yumbi health zone, the following challenges have been identified: disruption of the school calendar with more than one month of interruption; 17 schools have been destroyed (14 schools in Yumbi, 1 school in Bongende Sub division, 2 schools in Nkolo sub division); destruction of WASH infrastructures as well as didactic materials; death of 7 teachers; massive displacement of pupils and teachers and almost complete absence of school division officers.
• The number of health zones in alert with regard to nutrition needs (presently at least four indicators out of threshold) has increased from 65 (SNSAP Bulletin #33 covering period from July to September 2018) to 70 (SNSAP bulletin #34 covering period from October to December 2018). The most affected provinces are Central Ka
• In January, a cholera epidemic was declared in Haut Katanga province by the Ministry of Health. During the reporting period, a total of 1,833 cases were registered in the three provinces (944 cases and 26 deaths in Haut Katanga, 757 cases and 23 deaths in Haut Lomani, and 132 cases and 0 death in Lualaba). With a total of 49 deceased individuals in January, the average cholera fatality rate in the three provinces is at 2.7 per cent. Considering the total number of 2,306 cases and 68 deaths (fatality rate 2.9 per cent) since January 2018 in Haut Katanga, the 944 cases and 26 deaths in January 2019 represent a significant increase of cholera in this area.
• Regarding the measles outbreak, a total of 6,839 suspect cases and 71 deaths were reported in the provinces of Haut Lomami (3,416 cases and 47 deaths), Lualaba (3,237 cases and 24 deaths), and Haut Katanga (186 cases and 0 death). The outbreak in Lualaba requires particular attention since this province has not experienced any epidemic for ten years. The health zones of Kasaji (1,377 cases and 6 deaths) and Dilolo (1,110 cases) of Lualaba province have been particularly affected.sai (21 health zones out of 26), Kwango (10 health zones out of 14) and Sankuru (9 health zones out of 16).