In Democratic Republic of the Congo, new violence leads to even more displacement

10 October 2017
In Democratic Republic of the Congo, new violence leads to even more displacement
The ICRC providing food aid to 1,750 displaced and resident households in Mushangi in 2016. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Julie Schnieder

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is Africa's second largest country, rich in mineral wealth. However, it is also one of the world's poorest – having been conflict-ridden for most of the last 20 years.

Decades of instability, armed conflict and communal violence have left millions of people at the mercy of international humanitarian law violations.

People have endured massive suffering, including displacements, separation from family, looting, abuses, injury or violent death. According to IDMC's 2017 Global Report on Internal Displacement:

In 2016, DRC had 922,000 new displacements, the highest figure in the world, because of conflict and armed attacks, and yet the crisis received relatively little international attention.

By the end of 2016, an estimated 6.9 million people were in need of urgent humanitarian assistance – including more than 4.2 million children. There are currently 3.8 million displaced from their homes inside the country.

 Recent attention on DR Congo has focused on the Kasai region which comprises nine of DR Congo's 26 provinces.

Since August 2016, violence and unrest have torn the region apart leaving thousands of fatalities along the way. The health care system is crumbling and clashes have forced an estimated 1.6 million people to flee their homes.

Yet despite all this, the humanitarian situation in DRC continues to receive very little international attention.

The fact that the country had the highest number of new internally displaced people globally in 2016 has not made the headlines.

In the meantime, civilians continue to endure the consequences of armed conflict involving armed forces and groups, militias and factions while their protection needs remain largely unaddressed. DR Congo is one of the ICRC's biggest operations in Africa – and one of its most underfunded. 

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