The Commission has allocated over €2.3 million to help people fleeing conflict and violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as result of the military offensive of a non-state armed group “M23”. Over half a million people have become internally displaced because of the fighting in North Kivu province.
The humanitarian crisis is deteriorating. Many displaced live in makeshift settlements close to the city of Goma. To make things worse, cholera has broken out and the ongoing emergency response needs to be scaled up urgently.
The new funding will support the cholera response in the settlements of those displaced, and to help prevent the outbreak reaching other areas. The funding will allow UNICEF, the EU’s humanitarian partner, to scale up their emergency response to provide water, sanitation and hygiene measures in the settlements in the Nyiragongo health zone north of the city of Goma in North Kivu province.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: “Armed conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has resulted in half a million people newly displaced and around 250,000 sheltering in extremely harsh conditions in makeshift shelters, struggling to survive. Civilians should never be a target. The outbreak of cholera makes the situation even worse. Our new funding will assure the delivery of safe water and urgent sanitation and hygiene measures to those at risk.”
North Kivu, like other provinces in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Ituri, South Kivu), suffers from a steep escalation of targeted attacks by armed groups against civilians, many of whom have already been displaced due to conflict and violence.
There are around 1.9 million internally displaced persons in North Kivu and around 5.7 million in total in the whole country. The military offensive of non-state armed group “M23” in North Kivu has intensified since October 2022, creating a deteriorating humanitarian crisis. Over half a million people have become newly displaced and relying on external assistance to survive.
The UN estimates that almost 700,000 people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance in the territories of Rutshuru, Lubero and Nyiragongo in North Kivu because of the fighting, including local host communities who have to share already scarce resources.
An estimated 2 million people are food insecure in North Kivu alone. Some of the newly displaced people started resorting to negative coping mechanisms, such as survival sex, to be able to feed their families. Humanitarian organisations are struggling to extend the emergency response due to the lack of funding.
The funding announced today brings EU humanitarian aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to around €82 million in 2022.