United Nations agencies say the DRC has the largest number of people in need of urgent food assistance in the world.
A record 27.3 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo face acute hunger, a third of the population in a central African country ravaged by violence, largely due to conflict and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations has warned. .
The DRC is home to “the largest number of people in urgent need of food security assistance in the world,” the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said on Tuesday in a statement. joint statement describing the scale of the crisis as “staggering”.
Besides the conflict and the coronavirus pandemic, the number has also increased as the latest scan covered more people than the previous ones.
“For the first time, we were able to analyze the vast majority of the population, which helped us get closer to the true picture of the staggering scale of food insecurity in the DRC,” Peter Musoko, WFP representative in the country, told me.
“This country should be able to feed its people and export a surplus. We cannot let children go to bed hungry and families skip meals for a whole day, ”he said.
WFP has said it needs $ 662 million this year to avoid further starving millions of people who desperately need help.
Of the 27.3 million hungry people, about 6.7 million people were in the “emergency” phase, which is the last before famine, according to an analysis of the integrated classification of the safety phase food (IPC).
Effect of conflict
The most affected regions are in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika, as well as in the central province of Kasai, all of which have been affected by the conflict.
People forced by the fighting to flee their homes have returned to see their crops destroyed.
“Some survived by eating only taro, a root that grows in the wild, or only cassava leaves boiled in water,” the statement said.
Militia violence has persisted in DR Congo for decades, particularly in the eastern border regions with Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, despite the official end of a civil war in 2003.
“The recurring conflicts in eastern DRC and the suffering they cause remain a matter of great concern. Social and political stability is essential to strengthen food security and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations, ”said Aristide Ongone Obame, FAO Representative in DRC.
“We urgently need to focus on growing food where it is needed most and keeping food animals alive. The main farming season is approaching and there is no time to waste, ”she added.