The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is experiencing a dire humanitarian crisis, capturing the attention of the international community which has described the situation as the most severe humanitarian crisis witnessed. With a staggering number exceeding eight million individuals, the urgent need for immediate aid has become paramount.
Particularly alarming is the plight of women and girls in this region, who are tragically enduring widespread and pervasive sexual violence.
Edem Wosornu, the Operations Director of the United Nations Humanitarian Office, claimed that her recent visit to the war-torn country in Africa was characterised by a profound sense of shock, sadness, and sombre observation. She further emphasised that the situation in the country has significantly worsened over the past year and a half, causing great concern and anxiety.
She described the state of affairs in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri as “undoubtedly the most severe situation witnessed thus far” within a nation where over 26 million individuals are experiencing hunger.
During a news conference, Wosornu stated that gender-based violence is occurring at an alarming rate, as evidenced by the fact that over 35,000 survivors have sought assistance and support for their experiences of abuse within the initial six months of 2023 in the three provinces.
According to Wosornu, the United Nations (UN) has provided support to only a small portion of people requiring aid, despite receiving a substantial sum of 764 million dollars (£607 million) for humanitarian purposes this year. It is worth noting that the UN had initially requested 2.3 billion dollars (£1.8 billion) in funding.
“The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) exhibits the highest incidence of grave violations against children and is among the countries with the largest population of internally displaced persons worldwide. Moreover, the number of internally displaced people in the DRC has increased by an additional one million this year,” Gabriella Waaijman, the global humanitarian director at Save the Children International in London, said.
What people need, according to her, is peace, “and their government to step up and help them to return home safely or else provide them land so that they can be settled elsewhere and start anew.”
She acknowledged that money is desperately needed to scale up humanitarian relief and save lives.