Wednesday, October 17, 2018

DRC - Hunger growing

Around 15 million people, including women and children, in the Democratic Republic of Congo are without food in 2018, up from 7.7 million last year.
“The deteriorating hunger situation is concentrated in the ten provinces most adversely affected by violence,” Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement, citing a report by World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization and DR Congo’s Ministry of Agriculture.
“There have also been reports of women and girls in North Kivu going into prostitution to make money to buy food, as well as some men and boys joining armed groups just to receive regular meals,” it said.
“We are witnessing emergency levels of hunger and malnutrition in every town and village where we respond,” said Ulrika Blom, the country director for Norwegian Refugee Council in DR Congo.
Blom said they have witnessed people eating the raw seeds they received for planting in an attempt to satisfy their hunger.
 Conflict-related displacement is cited as the reason people are unable to access food. The intensified conflict across Congo’s eastern provinces paints a bleak future for civilians.
“In towns like Beni we know of hundreds of farmers who are too paralyzed by fear of being killed by armed groups that they refuse to go to their fields to cultivate,” said Blom. “The violence in many areas is having a ripple effect on local economies, and causing people to resort to increasingly desperate coping mechanisms to feed themselves and their children.”
Food production in DR Congo has fallen fast over the last 12 months. Staple foods like maize, cassava and rice have seen an average decline of 39 per cent in production levels compared to the previous season.
Only 27 per cent of the funds requested to meet the humanitarian needs in DR Congo for 2018 has been received.
Facts and figures:
  • 43 per cent of children under five years are suffering from malnutrition across Congo, according to UNICEF.

  • At least six provinces have malnutrition rates that are as high as 50 per cent, according to UNICEF.

  • The northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have recently seen some of the worst fighting in years, causing nearly 750,000 people to flee their homes in the first eight months of this year alone.

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