crisis deepens as congo's displaced population soars to 6.9 million

Crisis Deepens as Congo’s Displaced Population Soars to 6.9 Million

Spiralling Displacement Crisis

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is grappling with an alarming humanitarian crisis, with a record-high 6.9 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, according to a statement from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This dire situation reflects a sharp escalation in hostilities, particularly in the eastern province of North Kivu, where government forces and M23 rebel groups, led by Tutsi factions, have renewed confrontations.

Urgent Need for Assistance

The IOM has intensified its efforts to address the “complex and persistent crisis” plaguing the DRC, with the overwhelming majority of the displaced population facing acute needs for fundamental support. As the security situation continues to deteriorate, displacements become more frequent, and the demand for humanitarian aid grows.

200,000 Displaced in Eastern Congo

Recent reports from the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) reveal that approximately 200,000 individuals have been compelled to leave their homes following renewed combat in the Rutshuru and Masisi regions, north of Goma. The urgency for providing assistance to those in dire need is paramount. The IOM characterizes this situation as one of the largest internal displacements and humanitarian disasters globally.

Decades of Crisis in Congo

Fabien Sambussy, head of the IOM mission in the DRC, highlights the Congolese people’s enduring struggles through successive crises spanning decades. The DRC’s citizens have endured a series of hardships, including conflict, insecurity, and natural disasters.

Crisis Extends Beyond Eastern Congo

While the conflict in the eastern part of the DRC has been a longstanding concern, other regions have also been affected by war, insecurity, and natural calamities, including floods and landslides. These challenges compound the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the east.

Overcrowded Camps and Psychological Support

Over two-thirds of the displaced population in the DRC seeks shelter with host families. The IOM is actively involved in managing 78 camps that provide refuge for approximately 280,000 displaced individuals. Efforts are underway to enhance services for those grappling with psychological distress.

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Appeal for Financial Support

The IOM is urgently appealing for additional financial resources to sustain its vital operations in the DRC. The organisation has received less than half of the $100 million it sought. This funding is essential to address the growing humanitarian catastrophe and provide much-needed support to displaced populations.

Unresolved Conflict and MONUSCO

The eastern DRC has been ensnared in violence since the early 1990s, fueled by both domestic and international armed groups. The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), established in 1999 with an annual budget of one billion dollars, is one of the world’s largest and costliest peacekeeping missions. However, it has faced significant public opposition, with the DRC government demanding its withdrawal by the end of December, citing its inability to quell violence by armed groups. The situation in the DRC remains a complex and evolving crisis.