Kenya: Norwegian refugee body calls for scaling up of aid to DRC crisis victims

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The Norwegian Refugee Council says it is disturbed by the international community's slow and inadequate response to the crisis in DR Congo.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is experiencing one of the largest displacement crises in the world today, the organization says taking note of the pitiful amount of money trickling in to deliver aid.

''We are seeing a woefully inadequate number of aid agencies on the ground responding," said the NRC Country Director in DR Congo, Ulrika Blom.

Over 1.3 million people have been displaced by an outbreak of violence in DR Congo’s Kasaï Region since August 2016.

Some 8,000 people were displaced per day in May alone. Almost half of those displaced are children, thousands of whom have been victim to indiscriminate violence, separated from their parents and recruited by armed groups.

NRC is one of the first international humanitarian organizations to respond to the crisis in Kasaï Central province, deploying a team to the capital, Kananga. Kasaï Central is the epicentre of the crisis, hosting about 630,000 displaced people.

NRC assessments found 338 schools in Kasaï Central were not in use because of the conflict, representing over 1 in 10 schools in the region. In Nganza village, for example, the situation is especially complicated with some schools being occupied by armed groups.

“Children have been hit hardest by the conflict,” said Blom. “Many schools are destroyed or occupied by armed groups, robbing thousands of children from the chance of an education. For the lucky ones whose schools remain open, many are too scared to risk going, and so can’t sit their exams as a result.”

An emergency flash appeal by OCHA in April has only managed to raise 53 per cent of a requested US$65 million in terms of intent, but only 8 per cent have actually been provided so far.

“Access to communities in need in Kasaï Central is improving, so we should be using this window to scale up and respond. But without the necessary funding, our hands are tied,” continued Blom.
Over 3.7 million people are internally displaced in DRC as of May 2017. This is an increase from December 2016 of 1.5 million people, mainly in Kasaï.

475,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Over 20,000 people recently fled from Kasaï to Angola.

An estimated 7 million of DR Congo’s 92 million people need humanitarian aid.
-0- PANA DJ 21June2017

21 june 2017 10:20:11

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