In 2021, IOM, in collaboration with its partners and other crisis response actors, seeks to provide urgently needed multisectoral humanitarian assistance, stabilization and recovery support to conflict-affected populations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). IOM will also continue to support the government in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and post-Ebola stabilization efforts as well as strengthening preparedness for future public health hazards. Considering the many requests for accurate displacement data in the DRC, IOM also aims at expanding the scope of its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) interventions to cover the entire country, including monitoring of population mobility to inform outbreak preparedness and response.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to experience armed and intercommunal conflicts, disasters related to natural hazards and disease epidemics that have created one of the world’s most complex and long-standing crises. Since the beginning of 2020, the humanitarian situation in the country has deteriorated with an upsurge in population movements and protection incidents caused by intensified armed conflicts, particularly in Ituri, North Kivu, Tanganyika Province, and South Kivu provinces. This situation will continue to influence the humanitarian situation in the DRC in 2021. The humanitarian community estimates 19.6 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance during the first half of the year, with 5.2 million people internally displaced, making the DRC the country hosting the largest population of IDPs in Africa (HNO, 2021).
Since March 2020, the dire humanitarian conditions in the DRC have been further compounded by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The 11th EVD outbreak in Equateur province was declared over on 18 November 2020 with 119 confirmed cases and 44 confirmed deaths; however, the country remains on high alert and continues post-Ebola stabilization efforts in the Equateur and Eastern DRC provinces, including enhancing surveillance and strengthening epidemic preparedness and response capacity. Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional pressure on already very limited infrastructure and basic social services in the DRC, exacerbating the vulnerabilities and worsening the already precarious living conditions of the population. Since October 2020, the country is experiencing the beginning of what is predicted as a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a steep increase in the incidence of cases and hospital admissions, especially in Kinshasa.
Recurrent measles, cholera and malaria epidemics result in significant morbidity and mortality, especially among the most fragile populations with limited access to health services or forced to move due to insecurity. The situation requires a multi-faceted response that considers various challenges faced by affected populations.
Despite the signing of several peace agreements, the significant investment of international resources, and the peaceful transfer of power to President Tshisekedi in 2019, which initially brought a strategic opportunity for stabilization efforts due to a new political commitment and spontaneous surrenders of several armed groups, large parts of the DRC continue to suffer from a lack of social cohesion, humanitarian crises, and the absence of public services. The lack of effective governance of mineral resources also continues to remain a significant challenge for conflict resolution, economic growth and respect of human rights.