Food insecurity intensifies in conflict-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo

Aug 2017

Amid rising violence and displacement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 7.7 million people face acute hunger - a 30 percent increase over the last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned today in a new report.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis released today, between June 2016 and June 2017, the number of people in “emergency” and  “crisis” levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 4 and 3) – which precede “famine” levels on the IPC scale – and requiring urgent humanitarian food assistance rose by 1.8 million, from 5.9 million to 7.7 million. This means that more than one in ten people living in rural areas suffer from acute hunger.

Hunger is on the rise due to escalating and prolonged conflict and displacement in central and eastern DRC, mainly in the Kasaï and Tanganyika regions, where there has been widespread violence. Some 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes over the past year. The report noted that the humanitarian situation has been exacerbated by the spread of fall armyworm infestations and cholera and measles outbreaks.

In conflict-ridden areas, over 1.5 million people are facing “emergency” levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 4) according to the IPC report, which means people are forced to sell everything they have and skip or reduce their meals. “In conflict-ridden areas, farmers have seen their villages and fields pillaged. They have not been able to plant for the last two seasons. There is a lack of local markets providing for their food needs. Conflict toppled with armyworm infestations destroying crops in over a quarter of the country’s vast territories are devastating for rural communities. The situation is set to get worse if urgent support does not come in time,” said Alexis Bonte, FAO Representative ad interim in DRC. “Farmers, especially those displaced – majority women and children – desperately need urgent food aid but also means to sustain themselves, such as tools and seeds so that they can resume farming. Many of the displaced women lost their husbands. Farming, for them, is a way to get back on their feet, and face the future with dignity and hope,” added Bonte.