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UNICEF Republic of the Congo Humanitarian Situation Report Mid-Year as of 1 January – 30 June 2021

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Highlights:

UNICEF Congo assisted high-risk populations along the Congo and Oubangui River Corridor with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with critical water and hygiene supplies. About 34,000 refugees and host populations have benefited from integrated basic services, including health, WASH, nutrition, child protection, and education. Furthermore, UNICEF Congo has strengthened the capacity of service providers, local authorities, implementing partners, teachers, and stakeholders involved in the humanitarian response to assist vulnerable populations.

The Republic of Congo is prone to recurrent flooding along the River Corridor that affect around 170,000 persons each year. These same regions remain at high risk of potential Ebola outbreaks, exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and host around 132,905 refugees, asylum seekers and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

UNICEF Congo continues to have a funding gap of US$ 3,5 million (30 per cent) to meet the critical needs of children, women, and vulnerable host communities particularly for Nutrition, child Protection, WASH and C4D.

HAC 2021 Situation in Numbers

1,200,000 Total people in need of humanitarian assistance

560,000 Children in need of humanitarian assistance.

607,000 People to be reached

467,000 Children to be reached

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF has appealed for US $ 11,922,435 to provide lifesaving and life-sustaining assistance to children and their families in Cuvette, Sangha, Likouala, Plateaux, and Pool regions. In 2021:

  • USAID has contributed US $650,000 for Ebola Prevention and Preparedness Activities in Seven High-risk Districts notably Impfondo, Liranga, Loukolela, Makotimpoko, Mossaka, Mpouya and Ngabe. These areas have frequent river corridor border crossing with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and therefore increasing the risk of Ebola spread.

  • The Government of Japan has contributed US $664,863 to ensure sustainable access to essential health, nutrition, water, sanitation (WASH), Education, and Child Protection services for vulnerable children and women affected by emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Congo;

  • The USA Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM) contributed US $200,000 to the specific needs of migrant and refugee populations reflected in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19.

  • UNICEF, through its thematic humanitarian action thematic pool fund contributed US $ 225,000 for immediate emergency response needs

UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received in humanitarian needs, such as USAID, the Government of Japan, BPRM, World Bank, and the UNICEF thematic humanitarian funds.

In addition, UNICEF is also grateful for the contribution from other resources such as Canada, USA CDC, and USA USAID for the fight against polio outbreak. However, the HAC 2021 has a funding gap of 30 per cent, with a significant disparity between sectors where nutrition and child protection are the least funded.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The Republic of Congo is exposed to various epidemics, including measles, cholera, Ebola virus disease (EVD), and COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has so far affected an accumulative total of 13,156 confirmed COVID19 cases (MoH COVID-19 Sitrep 163, 23 July 2021). All the 12 regions of the Country have had confirmed cases of COVID-19, with Brazzaville and Pointe Noire as the main hotspots. The death toll is 177 people, including three children. UNICEF targets a total of 3.2 million people in the two COVID-19 high-risk regions of Brazzaville and Pointe Noire (where nearly 60 per cent of the country population resides) with preparedness and/or response activities.

The risk of the Ebola virus disease spreading from North Kivu and Equatorial provinces in DRC to Congo is very high (priority one risk according to WHO). It has been estimated that a total of 430,000 people living in the seven high-risk districts could be at high risk of Ebola Virus Disease. This situation is aggravated by the precariousness of health infrastructures, the poor access of the populations to water, hygiene, and sanitation.

Congo hosts 132,905 refugees, asylum seekers and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). There are currently 48,400 (approximately 24,200 children) refugees and asylum seekers mostly from the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda (UNHCR, December 2020). This includes 7,505 new refugees from Central African Republic (3,628 children) following the presidential elections in December 2020 (UNHCR, March 2021). There are also 77,000 internally displaced and returnees in the Pool region following the peace agreement in December 2017.

Without appropriate funding, it is more likely that most of the affected populations will not receive humanitarian assistance. That is why UNICEF Congo continues its efforts in mobilizing the required resources by increasing advocacy with donors and partners to ensure that key lifesaving health, nutrition, WASH, Education and C4D services are delivered, particularly to 20,000 refugees and host populations, including children.