According to a new study by two UN agencies, nowhere in the world do more people need food aid.
More than 27 million people in the DRC – one in three of the population – are affected by what agencies call “high acute food insecurity”. Which is up from 13 million in 2018.
According to analysis by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP), seven million people are now struggling to survive “emergency levels” of food insecurity.
This means that they rely on aid for more than half of their food needs.
The WFP states that it is already providing life-saving food assistance to 8.7 million people in the DRC.
“For the first time ever we were able to analyze the vast majority of the population, and it helped us get closer to the true picture of the staggering scale of food insecurity in the DRC,” says Peter Muscocco, WFP representative in the DRC. .
Conflict driven reduction
Conflict is a major driver of this food insecurity in the DRC, particularly in the east of the country and the central region of Qasas.
FAO’s representative in the country, Aristide Ogon Ombé, says that “the recurring conflict in the eastern DRC and the suffering they bring is a matter of great concern.”
The DRC consists of more than 40 armed groups. Insecurity is particularly high in parts of North Kivu province, where a group calling itself the Allied Democratic Forces – which is affiliated with the Islamic State – makes frequent attacks on villages. There are emergency levels of food insecurity in part of the province.
The effects of the coronavirus epidemic and the spread of diseases such as measles have worsened the plight of Congolese.
Earlier this month, the NGO Medicines Sans Frontiers reported more than 13,000 cases of measles since the beginning of the year.
The epidemic has also affected the DRC’s economy and the government reduced its 2021 budget by 38%.
Facing these challenges, aid agencies are trying to provide emergency assistance and long-term help.
The FAO states that its priority this year is to improve farmers’ access to equipment and seeds; Provide livestock and better storage for crops and help in dealing with diseases of animals and plants.