The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called for an urgent financial response to the humanitarian needs of refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The UN agency says it is unable to adequately respond to the growing needs of refugees and internally displaced persons in the country due to insufficient funding.
It is understood that only 19 percent of the U.S.$225 million budgeted at the start of 2022 has so far been secured.
‘Needs in the DRC are massive. At the start of the year, the country was host to over half a million refugees and asylum seekers, and over 5.6 million internally displaced people’, UNHCR said in a statement.
‘Fighting between the Congolese Army and non-state armed groups in North Kivu Province has displaced another 160,000 people since April.
‘In addition, UNHCR and partners in Ituri Province have recorded over 800 deaths from firearm attacks and machete raids on local communities, which have driven 20,700 people from their homes’.
At the present rate, 82 percent of the country’s internally displaced people will not receive adequate shelter support as they will be forced to sleep in churches, schools and stadiums, out in the open, or may resort to returning to their homes despite the risk of being targeted by armed groups.
‘Every child has the right to primary education, but in the DRC, due to underfunding, only 16 percent of South Sudanese refugee children are able to attend school’, UNHCR added.
‘At current funding levels, UNHCR cannot support a single refugee child to attend secondary school this year.
‘Without additional support, UNHCR will be forced to cut cash and livelihood kits for agriculture, fisheries, and livestock.
‘These gaps combined with serious droughts in both eastern and southern Africa will result in many displaced people going hungry’.
UNHCR says its response to the crisis with support from its partners will not be enough, further appealing to the international community to act now and support those desperately in need.
Photo source: UNHCR/Guerchom Ndebo