The multi-dimensional crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is characterized by recurrent armed conflicts, severe food insecurity, nutrition crises, displacement and disease outbreaks. The humanitarian situation remains particularly concerning in the conflict-affected provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, Ituri, Kasaï, Kasaï-Central and Kasaï-Oriental. In 2020, nearly 15.9 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance, including 8.59 million children. In 2019, over 17,000 cases of cholera have been recorded, with further outbreaks expected in 2020, and a nationwide measles epidemic was declared in 121 health zones. The Ebola outbreak is the world’s second largest in history, with over 3,000 confirmed cases, including more than 900 children. Nearly 13.3 million people will experience crisis levels of acute food insecurity by 2020, and more than 1 million children under 5 years will suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Some 7.1 million persons – including internally displaced persons, returnees and members of host communities – will require access to emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. The situation is compounded by violations of children’s rights, including lack of access to education, forced recruitment by armed groups and sexual abuse. In emergency zones, 47 per cent of survivors of gender-based violence are children. Nearly 7 million children aged 5 to 17 are out of school; 53 per cent of these children are girls.
In 2020, within the framework of the UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo Humanitarian and Resilience Strategy, UNICEF will provide humanitarian assistance through a timely, coordinated and integrated multi-sectoral package of support delivered primarily in regions facing recurrent population displacement and epidemics. UNICEF will continue to be among the first responders to the Ebola outbreak (see the separate appeal for Ebola preparedness and response). UNICEF's operations will be led by 11 field offices to enable wide coverage and quality programming across the country, and provide cash-based interventions when appropriate. The UNICEF Rapid Response, a new life-saving programme and strategy, will target areas affected by shocks and displacement in North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika and Ituri, using gender-sensitive multi-sectoral interventions. This programme will also contribute to the elimination of cholera in priority areas. Screening, referral and treatment for children with SAM will be complemented by WASH interventions in health facilities and communities. Child protection services will include the provision of psychosocial support, early learning, early stimulation and play activities for vulnerable children, adolescents and/or survivors of sexual violence. UNICEF will continue to lead the WASH, nutrition and education clusters at the national and decentralized levels, co-lead the cash working group in Goma and lead the non-food items and child protection subclusters. UNICEF will continue to promote capacity building for local and international non-governmental organizations and support national authorities to reach more persons in need.
Results from 2019
As of 31 August 2019, UNICEF had US$84.8 million available against the US$326.1 million appeal (26 per cent funded). Despite the significant funding gap, as of August 2019, UNICEF had reached more than 2.87 million people in need of emergency assistance. More than 169,000 children with SAM were admitted for therapeutic care, with a cure rate of nearly 83 per cent. UNICEF played a critical role in the response to the cholera outbreak, supporting 505,000 people with WASH packages in cholera-affected areas. Nearly 1.1 million children were vaccinated against measles with UNICEF support. The Rapid Response Mechanism assisted more than 403,000 people in education, health, WASH and non-food items, as well as over 138,000 persons through cash transfer modalities, enabling affected people to recover their livelihoods. Nearly 126,000 children affected by conflict or natural disasters gained access to quality education and psychosocial activities in the classroom. UNICEF further assisted nearly 1,900 children (283 girls and 1,570 boys) exiting armed groups, and more than 120,000 displaced children (55,818 girls and 64,182 boys) with psychosocial support. UNICEF provided technical support and capacity building for partners at the national and sub-national levels to improve emergency preparedness and response. Results of the response to the Ebola outbreak are included in the separate appeal for Ebola preparedness and response, as well as in Ebola situation reports.