Ireland pledges at least €5m in response to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises
Ireland will today pledge at least €5 million in humanitarian response to the deepening crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo represents today one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises in terms of people in need. Ireland’s pledge will be delivered at a UN Pledging Conference today in Geneva and builds on support of over €16 million provided by Ireland to the DRC since 2016.
Speaking ahead of the conference the Tánaiste said:
‘A shocking 4.5 million Congolese are internally displaced today, the highest number on the African continent. A further 750,000 have sought protection in neighbouring countries as a result of violence, food insecurity and widespread human rights violations and abuses. Ireland is a long-standing humanitarian donor in the Democratic Republic of Congo and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Congolese people as part of the international response’.
The Tánaiste went on to say:
‘I remain deeply concerned by the level of violence, including gender based violence, in the DRC, and by the grievous human rights abuses, and ongoing violations of international humanitarian law. In particular, I condemn the ongoing recruitment of child soldiers and recent attacks on hospitals and schools in the Kasai. In order to protect human life and reduce suffering, I call on the Government of the DRC to scrupulously respect human rights and International Humanitarian Law. The Government should also take urgent measures to give full and safe access to all humanitarian agencies and to allow effective implementation of humanitarian relief operations. ’
Minister of State Cannon added:
‘The international community, including Ireland, are gathered in Geneva today for a High-Level Pledging Event to support the humanitarian response in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ireland will provide over €5 million in humanitarian assistance in 2018 to those affected by the crisis in the country. This builds on our steadfast commitment to the DRC over many years. We will continue to review provision of further funds throughout the year and I would urge other donors to do the same.’
Notes to Editor:
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises in terms of people in need. In October 2017, the UN declared a “Level 3” emergency for three areas of the DRC - the Kasais, Tanganyika and South Kivu. This is the most severe level of humanitarian crisis and the declaration triggered a massive scale up in the response from the international community, including from Ireland, which donated over €6.9 million in 2017.
In 2018, the UN estimates that 13.1 million people (50% of the population) will require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. The UN has appealed for $1.68 billion to assist 10.5 million of those.
Decades of armed conflict and insecurity in the DRC has created one of the world’s largest, most acute, complex and long-standing humanitarian crises. The situation is exacerbated by the volatility of the political situation, resurgences of inter-community violence and limited humanitarian access to some of the worst affected areas, particularly in the Eastern provinces and in the Kasaï region of central DRC.
The persistent armed conflict and lack of basic social services throughout the country have led to the internal displacement of 4.5 million people as at February 2018 (1.4 million of whom are displaced as a result of the Kasaï emergency), the highest level of internal displacement of any African country. Over 2 million people were newly displaced in 2017.
The surge in needs stems from a mix of political tensions, economic stress, and a sharp increase in violence, including in previously peaceful areas such as the Kasai, and intensified violence in other areas such as Tanganyika, South Kivu and Ituri. There are widespread human rights violations, including targeted attacks against civilians and a high prevalence of gender-based violence. An estimated 7.7 million people are food insecure and nearly 2 million children are severely acutely malnourished.
Congolese have also sought refuge in neighbouring countries, with a significant increase in refugee flows to Uganda, Angola, Burundi and Zambia. As of December 2017, almost 750,000 Congolese have sought international protection in neighbouring countries, making the DRC refugee population one of the largest in the world. At the same time, the DRC itself hosts more than 540,000 refugees, mainly from Rwanda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Burundi.
The high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in DRC, organised by the United Nations, the European Union and the Government of the Netherlands, aims to draw attention to the crisis and secure financial support in response to the crisis.
Ireland provides humanitarian funding through the UN, international organisations and NGOs. The funding announced by Ireland at the pledging conference will be channelled principally through UN agencies, including UN managed Humanitarian Pooled Funds and through NGO partners.