Diplomats Warn of Dire Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern DRC Following Visit to Goma

Diplomats sound alarm on dire humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC, with over 7.2 million displaced and urgent need for $2.6B in aid to address worsening conflict and flooding.

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Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Diplomats Warn of Dire Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern DRC Following Visit to Goma

Diplomats Warn of Dire Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern DRC Following Visit to Goma

Diplomats and a humanitarian coordinator have sounded the alarm on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following a two-day visit to Goma, North Kivu.

The visit highlighted the immense suffering endured by millions of displaced people, particularly women and children, in the conflict-ridden region.

The ongoing hostilities between the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and the M23 group have intensified since March 2022, leading to a severe humanitarian crisis. Over 738,000 people have been newly displaced in the DRC since the beginning of 2024, bringing the total number of displaced individuals to around 7.2 million, with women making up 51% of the displaced population.

The diplomats and humanitarian coordinator urgently called for the mobilization of resources and unhindered humanitarian access to address the dire situation. They described the conditions in the eastern DRC as extremely challenging, with ongoing hostilities, destruction of infrastructure, and risks faced by humanitarian workers impeding the delivery of critical aid.

Why this matters: The humanitarian crisis in the eastern DRC has far-reaching consequences, not only for the millions of displaced individuals but also for regional stability and the international community's responsibility to protect vulnerable populations. The urgent call for action by diplomats and humanitarian coordinators emphasizes the need for a concerted global effort to address the suffering and prevent further escalation of the conflict.

The UN has launched an urgent appeal for humanitarian assistance, seeking $2.6 billion to assist 8.7 million people affected by the conflict in the eastern DRC. However, according to DRC humanitarian coordinator Bruno Lemarquis, only about 15% of the necessary resources have been mobilized, leaving the needs far exceeding the available aid.

The Belgian ambassador to the DRC, Roxane de Bilderling, emphasized that the military approach alone is not solving the conflict and that the situation is worsening. The Congolese Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Modeste Mutinga, criticized the international community for not imposing sanctions on Rwanda, which Kinshasa regards as an aggressor in the conflict.

Compounding the humanitarian crisis, thousands of households and dozens of schools in the eastern DRC have been affected by recent flooding, prompting local authorities to call for assistance from the central government.

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, concluded his mission to the DRC by reiterating the right of all Congolese people to peace and calling on countries with influence over armed groups to ensure the fighting stops. "The total amount of aid planned for 2024 is $2.6 billion, but Lemarquis says they do not have the resources to provide an adequate response," underscoring the urgent need for international support to alleviate the suffering of millions in the eastern DRC.

Key Takeaways

  • The humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC was due to conflict between FARDC and M23, displacing 7.2M
  • The UN appealled for $2.6B to assist 8.7M affected, but only 15% of funds mobilized so far
  • Diplomats call for resources, access to deliver aid amid ongoing hostilities, infrastructure damage
  • Flooding compounds the crisis, local authorities seek assistance from the central government
  • UN rights chief urges countries to ensure fighting stops, underscoring urgent need for support