DR Congo emergency
Conditions for displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are worsening on a daily basis as resources run dry, and many find themselves unable to satisfy their most urgent needs without humanitarian assistance.
Since March 2022, 3.3 million people have been displaced across the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri alone, amid an appalling spike in human rights abuses against civilian populations.
A wave of violence in North Kivu Province between October and November 2023 claimed the lives of dozens of civilians and displaced at least 450,000 people, putting additional pressure on host communities.
The risk of further displacement is high as conflict and insecurity continue to dominate the region. Protection needs are spiralling as cyclical violence prevents displaced populations from returning to their homes and their incomes, and conditions in sites where they have spontaneously settled deteriorate.
Major risks are multiplying and compounding the hardships already faced by displaced people, including a marked increase in gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrated against vulnerable women and girls. During June and July 2023 alone, 10,684 survivors accessed GBV services in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri.
Across the DRC, the demand for increased levels of support is growing exponentially, with 25.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Without a solution to the conflict in the eastern provinces, no improvement in the humanitarian and displacement situation is expected in 2024.
We had a good life. There’s no way to go back home, everything has been destroyed. All I’m asking for is peace.
What is UNHCR doing to help?
Amidst this insecurity, UNHCR and partners continue to deliver life-saving assistance to displaced populations in the toughest of conditions, making difficult decisions to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable. UNHCR acts as lead and co-lead on the provision of shelter, protection and camp coordination and management (CCCM), in close collaboration with other UN agencies and partners.
It provides tarpaulin-walled shelters, blankets, cooking pots and menstrual hygiene kits for women and girls who make up the majority of those displaced.
UNHCR also leads efforts to improve access to protection services like psycho-social support to treat trauma, with a particular emphasis on the needs of vulnerable groups, such as women, children, the elderly and people with specific needs.
By the end of 2023, more than 922,000 internally displaced people were sheltering across 247 sites for internally displaced people monitored by the CCCM Cluster in Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika. More than 200 of these sites are spontaneous sites and collective centres, where makeshift shelters offer little protection against the elements and overcrowding is generating major health risks.
The delivery of emergency assistance continues despite severe underfunding in the DRC. By the end of 2023, UNHCR’s US$233 million plan to assist both internally displaced people and refugees in the DRC was only 43 per cent funded.
Are you a refugee or asylum-seeker? Find information about your rights and available services on our HELP site.
Are you looking for data on displacement in the DRC? Visit the UNHCR data portal for the latest data and statistics on refugees and other displaced persons.
For information on UNHCR's operational response, budgets and funding, please visit the DRC situation page on Global Focus.