More than 5,500 people fled their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo every day during the first half of 2017, leading one charity to label the situation in the country a “mega-crisis”.
The figures mean that, for the second year in a row, DR Congo is the country worst-affected by conflict displacement in the world, according to a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
Fighting between armed groups added to a worsening political crisis – as President Joseph Kabila refuses to step down – has made the area particularly volatile, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) country director in DR Congo, Ulrika Blom, said.
It’s a mega-crisis. The scale of people fleeing violence is off the charts, outpacing Syria, Yemen and Iraq.”
However, despite there now being four million displaced people, as well as more than seven million struggling to feed themselves, help has been slow to materialize.
The United Nations declared its highest level emergency in October, but less than half the money needed has been received.
Ms Blom – whose colleagues have seen firsthand the “absolute squalor” of those fleeing violence were being forced to live in – said:
Donor fatigue, geopolitical disinterest and competing crises have pushed Congo far down the list of priorities for the international community.
This deadly trend is at the expense of millions of Congolese. If we fails to step up now, mass hunger will spread and people will die.
We are in a race against time.”