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Democratic Republic of Congo: EU sounds alert on impact of crisis on civilians

Democratic Republic of Congo: EU sounds alert on impact of crisis on civilians
19/07/2013  - 

The European Commission is mobilizing an additional €10 million to deliver urgently needed relief to 2.5 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – one of today's most complex and protracted humanitarian crises.

This additional funding brings the European Commission's emergency aid to DRC and the Great Lakes Region to €71 million this year, making the EU the country's largest humanitarian donor. It comes as fighting in Eastern DRC intensifies, with dire consequences for millions of civilians and daily violations of International Humanitarian Law. There are reports that the extent and nature of sexual violence against women in Eastern DRC is getting ever worse, with very young children and even babies among those targeted.

"I agree with Dr Denis Mukwege, the founder and director of the EU-funded Panzi Hospital, when he says that the appalling acts of sexual violence which he treats are a strategy to destroy communities," said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

"The world needs to wake up and act now against the unspeakable barbarity of sexual and gender-based violence in Eastern Congo. During my last visit to the Kivus I met survivors of sexual violence with Dr Mukwege. Their fortitude in the face of so much suffering is a lesson in human dignity.

"I call on all those who have influence in Eastern Congo to do their utmost to end this barbaric violence. We also need to ensure that humanitarian action can continue in full compliance of humanitarian principles so that we can reach those in need wherever they are".

Through the new funding the European Commission is supporting the DRC's most vulnerable people with immediately life-saving actions such as distributing essential food and survival items as well as providing protection, shelter, health, water, hygiene and sanitation.