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Crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to suffer from a series of shocks – armed conflict, epidemic outbreaks and natural hazards – that increase humanitarian needs and people’s vulnerabilities. In 2018, the crisis in the country drastically worsened, spreading to previously unaffected areas, and continues to cause significant population displacement in the region, with 1.3 million people internally displaced – the majority of whom live with host families who already face chronic poverty and food insecurity. In the effort to contribute to peace-building, FAO is working to protect and restore the livelihoods of crisis-affected households, to increase their self-reliance, enhance production and marketing chains, and to support the establishment of income-generating activities.

Deterioration of food insecurity

While the country has experienced a complex and protracted crisis for over two decades, persistent insecurity and violent inter-communal conflict coupled with the devastating effects of natural disasters have caused a sharp deterioration in the food security situation. The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis ([IPC], August 2018) indicated that 13.1 million people are severely food insecure (IPC Phases 3 and 4) across 101 of the country’s 145 territories. This figure represents 23 percent of the rural population and is nearly double compared with the previous analysis.

In the Kasai, Tanganyika and eastern regions, the deterioration of the food insecurity situation, is mainly caused by a decline in agricultural production. The outcome of 2018’s main agricultural season is expected to be below-average due to conflict, fall armyworm that has caused significant crop damage and production losses particularly in maize‑growing regions, floods or insufficient rains, and limited access to land and inputs. Accessing productive assets is especially challenging for IDPs as well as returnees who frequently go back to areas that were looted and find themselves without the means to resume livelihood activities.

Furthermore, the low levels of supplies available on the markets has resulted in increased prices of staple food commodities. This will have a major impact on food availability during the first half of 2019. Livelihood support will be needed, particularly during this year’s lean season, to ensure that vulnerable populations resume production activities to strengthen their resilience.

Supporting vulnerable families

Under the 2017‒2019 Humanitarian Response Plan, FAO seeks USD 50 million to assist 1.8 million people. Specific activities will focus on the provision of agricultural inputs, cash-based transfers, trainings, caisses de résilience activities, and sustainable management of natural resources, conflict management and prevention. Supporting vulnerable families through agricultural assistance allows them to produce their own food and to increase their resilience.

The size of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the complexity and diversity of its humanitarian crises, require coordinated, strategic and needs-based responses. FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) continue to co-lead the Food Security Cluster to improve coordination and ensure timely and accurate information on food and nutrition needs. FAO is also working with WFP on joint strategies and programmes to ensure that people can rapidly resume food production. The FAO/WFP joint response links emergency food assistance (food or cash transfers) with the distribution of agricultural inputs and services as well as strengthening of technical, financial and social capacities. The joint strategy focuses on protecting and restoring the livelihoods of crisis-affected households to increase their self-reliance and on enhancing production and marketing chains and support the establishment of income-generating activities. Planting for the next growing season will be compromised if no action is taken, and the multiple crises affecting the country will endanger thousands of lives.

Controlling transboundary animal diseases

FAO animal health is building capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease threats. Activities are implemented by FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 34 other countries. Many communities rely on animals for their livelihoods as well as their food security and nutrition. When diseases jump from animals to humans they can spread around the world in a matter of hours or days, posing a threat to global health security. FAO is working to reduce the impact of animal diseases on lives and livelihoods, and helping to stop emergence and spread of potential pandemics at source.

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