DRC crisis

Internally displaced people carrying their belongings along a roadside in the Kasai region

“There is nobody else to stand up for them.”

In the remote Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1.4 million people have fled their homes due to a full-blown regional conflict. Around half have now returned to their area of origin, but many are returning to burned and looted villages where they have no means to support themselves.

Nearly 3 million people are at emergency or crisis levels of hunger

“This is not a high-profile emergency. It will not be appearing in the news,” says Tom Newby, head of humanitarian response for CARE International UK.

But CARE is not willing to stand by as the hope of stability and development that the people of this fragile country have had in recent years is taken away.

CARE works in the hardest-to-reach places

Before the crisis, CARE was one of the few agencies already working in the Kasai region.

And our humanitarian teams are on the ground now, supplying clean water and food, helping provide shelter to those who have been displaced, and working to protect people from the violence.

Read more in our blog Helping people in a conflict zone.

What CARE is doing

Before the conflict erupted, CARE was one of only a handful agencies working in the Kasai region. We have been running a variety of health programmes as part of our longer-term development support to the people of the DRC.

CARE staff are now urgently scaling up our humanitarian response in the region. CARE teams are on the ground now, working to protect people from violence, as well as ensuring people have food and safe water.

But our teams in the DRC are already stretched – and we need to do so much more.

CARE is providing sexual and reproductive health support, and protection and support around gender-based violence, in Kasai Oriental. We have plans in place to reach 225,000 people with food and nutrition support, provide health services, rehabilitate water supplies, and distribute hygiene kits. We urgently need more funds to enable us to reach and help those most in need.

The crisis in brief

Since August 2016, the provinces of Kasai – formerly a relatively peaceful area – have been the scene of a violent uprising by a local militia group. The violence spread rapidly, and as the conflict grew in intensity, all the parties to the conflict began to commit indiscriminate acts of violence against the civilian population.

Huge numbers are at great risk of violence, including sexual violence. Attacks against civilians are a daily occurrence.

Children, largely recruited by the militia, have become hostages to the conflict. Thousands of children have been separated from their families and used as combatants, generating significant needs in terms of child protection.

At least 1.4 million people in the Kasai region have been displaced from their homes and villages since the beginning of the crisis.

Homes, schools, health centres, and infrastructure such as water supplies, have been damaged or destroyed. People have fled their homes with no belongings and no means of support.

The situation has created a huge – yet largely unreported – humanitarian crisis.

2.8 million people (36% of the population) are in food emergency or crisis.

The crisis in Kasai adds onto pre-existing crises in the DRC in the Tanganyika and Kivu areas. The total number of internally displaced people in the DRC is 3.8 million, the most of any country in Africa. 16 out the 26 provinces in the DRC are in a situation of conflict.

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