European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Democratic Republic of Congo

Mugunga 1 is a camp for the displaced situated 15 km from Goma town, in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. © European Union/ECHO/Malini Morzaria

What are the needs?

The humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is among the world's most complex and long-standing. Recurrent outbreaks of fighting have led to numerous displacements of people. Internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially in the eastern regions, are in most urgent need of humanitarian assistance. As of Feburary 2016, there are about 1.7 million displaced people in the country, with more than 500 000 Congolese refugees in the neighbouring countries.

Almost 3 million people have been displaced within the DRC since 2009. Armed groups continue to cause displacement, especially in the east, which causes pressing humanitarian needs. Roughly half a million Congolese have also sought refuge outside of their country.

Protection of civilians remains a primary concern in most areas affected by conflict. Exactions, looting accompanied by violence like rape, abduction, and forced recruitment of children carried out by armed groups continue to take place.

How are we helping?

The European Commission is providing shelter, water, food, sanitation facilities and medical services to the displaced people mainly in the eastern part of the country, while also responding to the needs of the displaced and returning refugees in western areas in the South Ubangi district. Where it is possible for the displaced to return to their homes, the Commission is providing the minimum conditions for the rebuilding of people's lives and the improvement of basic social services for vulnerable returnees.

The Commission is funding protection activities, such as treatment and counselling for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, to respond to the needs of those who have suffered directly and indirectly from displacement and violence.

In non-conflict areas, main humanitarian concerns include malnutrition rates above the emergency threshold, widespread food insecurity and frequent disease outbreaks, such as recent epidemics of measles and cholera. Recurrent expulsions of Congolese illegal migrants from Angola also have significant protection and humanitarian implications.

Access to remote parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo is problematic due to poor infrastructure and high insecurity. The Commission operates a dedicated humanitarian air service called 'ECHO Flight' as well as helicopters, which transport humanitarian personnel and supplies to remote locations in the interior of Haut and Bas Uele, North Kivu and South Kivu, Dongo and Kassai Orientale, where access by road is impossible or unsafe.

Last updated 04/10/2017