GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 26, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Since the beginning of 2018, the global organization Mercy Corps has doubled its humanitarian response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and plans to help more than half a million Congolese over the next year, making it one of the largest organizations working in the country.
For the past six months, the United Nations designated the crisis in DR Congo on the same level as Syria and Yemen, both of which are considered the most challenging and complex humanitarian emergencies in the world.
An estimated 13.1 million people urgently need humanitarian assistance in the face of armed conflict, insecurity and chronic poverty - 5.6 million more people than in 2017. In response, the U.N. asked for $1.7 billion, the country's largest ever funding appeal, but only $528 million was pledged at a recent conference.
"The DR Congo has more people displaced than anywhere else in Africa and the number of people who need our help is increasing day by day," says Jean-Philippe Marcoux, Mercy Corps Country Director for DR Congo. "Mercy Corps had no choice but to intensify our efforts to respond to the needs of families who are running out of options."
The global organization has expanded its humanitarian response and will help more than 500,000 people meet their urgent food, water, shelter and sanitation needs over the next year. Some of this work will be undertaken through its newly established 'Kivu Crisis Response', a rapid-response unit to help Congolese who are suddenly uprooted and lose their homes and livelihoods.
"With only one third of the needed funding secured or pledged for 2018, we cannot again let the Congolese crisis disappear from view," Marcoux says. "We must work together to meet the overwhelming humanitarian needs and support the stabilization of the country by addressing the root causes of the crisis."
Mercy Corps has worked in DR Congo since 2007, responding to the needs of internally displaced persons and host communities. It has also strengthened their resilience to recurring stresses and shocks, reaching a total of 1.5 million people through emergency support, livelihoods and by addressing the root causes of food insecurity and conflict.