The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, DR Congo) is a country in central Sub-Saharan Africa. The country gained its independence from Belgium in 1960; its national capital is Kinshasa. The DRC borders the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, and the Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo covers an area of 2,344,858 square kilometers. In 2022, the country had an estimated population of about 108.4 million people, making it the third most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and Ethiopia. The DR Congo is one of the most resource-rich countries in the world and at the same time one of the least developed countries.
The humanitarian situation
The people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are suffering one of the most complex and protracted humanitarian crises. The DRC is at the same time facing one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world, and the situation in the country is one of the most neglected displacement crises globally. For decades, the country has endured multiple, overlapping crises driven mainly by conflict and forced displacement; both have devastating consequences. More than hundred years later, the horrific colonization of the country by the Belgian King Leopold II is still impacting the life in the DRC. Since the end of the Second Congo War in 2003, the central African country has experienced now two decades of lingering armed violence.
With 7.1 million forcibly displaced people, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has more displacement than any other country in Africa. Some 6.1 million people are internally displaced within DRC, mainly in the eastern provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, while 1 million refugees and asylum seekers from DRC are hosted in neighboring countries.
In 2022 hundreds of thousands of civilians were forced to flee their homes, an illustration of the country’s ongoing fragility. The humanitarian situation in DR Congo continues to deteriorate, particularly in the eastern provinces of the country, due to the volatile security situation. In addition to the millions of internally displaced persons, the Democratic Republic of Congo is also hosting some 520,000 refugees from other countries, mainly from the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.
Ongoing conflict in the country fuels hunger. At least 27 million people are acutely food insecure in the DRC and in dire need of humanitarian assistance, among them an estimated 14 million children. More than 3.4 million children are acutely malnourished. The UN estimates that 26.4 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2023, a slight decrease of 600,000 people compared to 2022.
The security situation
For two decades conflict has been raging in parts of the country. Human rights violations are widespread, in particular cases of sexual and gender-based violence with sexual violence being used as a weapon of war. Sporadic waves of fighting across many parts of the country, particular eastern regions, face the DRC with a complex and challenging security situation.
Presidential, legislative, and provincial elections were held in December 2018 and early 2019 across most of the country. In 2019 than the country experienced the first transfer of power to an opposition candidate without significant violence or a coup since the DRC's independence. Opposition candidate Félix Tshisekedi was announced the election winner on 10 January 2019 and inaugurated two weeks later.
While the security situation improved in some areas in 2021, armed conflict and natural disasters continue to cause significant displacement the east of the country, particularly in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri where a state of siege was declared in April 2022 due to escalating attacks. North Kivu, Ituri, and South Kivu suffered in 2021 and 2022 from an escalation of targeted attacks by armed groups against civilians, many of whom have already been displaced due to conflict and violence. Much of the recent instability is driven by illicit mining, regional rivalries, and a proxy war between DRC’s eastern neighbors Uganda and Rwanda. Despite efforts to achieve peace in eastern Congo, mistrust between leaders of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, is a major obstacle.
In North Kivu province, at least 800,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since fighting between the Congolese army and the armed group Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) escalated in March 2022. The fighting is concentrated in the Rutshuru Territory and Masisi territory, and most of the displaced have fled to the Nyiragongo Territory, while thousands of people have sought refuge in Uganda and Rwanda.
While the DR Congo continues to experience violence perpetrated by more than 130 armed groups active in the eastern regions, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) has operated in the regions since 1999 and is the largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world. The mission has been authorized to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the Government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.
Your donation for the Democratic Republic of the Congo emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
- UN Crisis Relief: Democratic Republic of the Congo Emergency
- UNHCR: DR Congo emergency
- WFP: Democratic Republic of the Congo Emergency
Currently, there are only a few active appeals for the DR Congo Crisis. You may also consider making an unearmarked donation or a broader earmarked donation.
- Oxfam International: Donate to the Global Emergency Fund
- International Rescue Committee: Donate
- Save the children: Donate
You can find more organizations to which you can donate under: DONARE: Humanitarian Crisis Relief, DONARE: Refugees and IDPS , DONARE: Children in Need and DONARE: Hunger and Food Insecurity.
- Concern Worldwide: The DRC crisis, explained
- Norwegian Refugee Council: NRC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Oxfam International: Crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo
- International Rescue Committee: Democratic Republic of Congo
- International Crisis Group: Democratic Republic of Congo
- United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO)