Africa Environment News

UN Says Record 6.9 Million People Internally Displaced in The DR Congo

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday that the number of displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo has reached a record high of 6.9 million.

This latest increase comes following renewed conflict between Tutsi-led M23 rebels and militias loyal to the government in the eastern province of North Kivu in October.

It said it was intensifying its efforts to address the “complex and persistent crisis” across the country with most of those who fled their homes desperately needing help to meet their basic needs.

As the security situation continues to deteriorate, movements become more frequent and humanitarian needs soar. 

Nearly 200,000 people have fled their homes since the resumption of the fighting in the Rutshuru and Masisi regions, north of Goma, according to the UN humanitarian agency Ocha.

The IOM said it urgently needs to deliver help to those most in need, describing the situation in the DRC as one of the largest internal displacement and humanitarian crises in the world.

“For decades, the Congolese people have been weathering successive storms of crisis”, said Fabien Sambussy, head of the IOM mission in the country.

More than two-thirds of the displaced people in the DRC live with host families.

The organisation said that on top of the large-scale humanitarian crisis in the east, other regions have experienced conflict, insecurity, and disasters such as floods and landslides.

It is helping to manage 78 camps housing some 280,000 displaced people and is strengthening mental health services for people in psychological distress.

The IOM is calling for additional financial resources for its operations in the DRC, saying it has received less than half of the $100 million requested.

The eastern part of the DRC has been plagued by violence from local and foreign armed groups for nearly 30 years.

Present in the country since 1999, the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, is one of the largest and most expensive of its kind in the world, with an annual budget of one billion dollars.

But it is highly unpopular, with the DRC government calling for it to leave by December, saying it has failed to put an end to the violence perpetrated by armed groups.

Source: Africa News