DRC appeal amid spiralling humanitarian needs
A major international funding appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has raised more than $500 million at the UN in Geneva, amid warnings by aid experts of a growing humanitarian crisis in the country.
Despite massive natural resources, years of violence by armed groups vying for control—along with political and ethnic instability—have created massive food insecurity.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than two million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition in DRC, and 13 million people need help urgently.
At the pledging conference, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock described some of the needs:
“The country is also facing epidemics, including the worst outbreak of cholera in 15 years. Unfortunately, there is also an epidemic of sexual violence, most of it unreported and unaddressed, and much of it against children.”
This year alone, OCHA estimates that a total of $1.7 billion is needed to fund humanitarian assistance inside DRC.
This is nearly four times more than the amount secured last year.
An additional $500 million is needed to support 807,000 Congolese refugees in neighbouring countries and the more than 540,000 refugees from other countries who are in the DRC.
UNICEF appeal on fourth anniversary of Nigeria’s Chibok girls outrage
To Nigeria now, where it’s been four years since 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by armed separatists Boko Haram in the town of Chibok.
Marking the event on Friday, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said that more than 100 Chibok girls have not been returned home.
The agency also pointed out that more than 1,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria since 2013, amid ongoing insecurity.
Here’s UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac:
“A recent attack on a school in Dapchi, in which five girls lost their lives. These repeated attacks against children in schools are just unconscionable, and this must stop. Children have a right to protection and to education. You know how important it is to go to school in a place of conflict; it’s even more important there than elsewhere and these are very, very serious violations of children’s rights.”
Since conflict began in north-eastern Nigeria nearly nine years ago, nearly 2,300 teachers have been killed and more than 1,400 schools have been destroyed.
UNICEF is supporting the authorities to fulfil their commitment to making schools safer and more resilient to attack.
Bangladesh and UN Refugee Agency agree on voluntary returns deal for Myanmar Rohingya
And finally to Myanmar, where authorities have been urged once again by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to provide access to Rakhine State, amid ongoing efforts to ensure a safe return for ethnic Rohingya.
More than 670,000 Rohingya fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State last year, amid a military operation launched in August after attacks against the state.
Those targeted sought sanctuary in neighbouring Bangladesh, joining another 200,000 Rohingya who were already there.
On Friday, UNHCR announced that it had agreed a “framework of cooperation” with Bangladesh on the return of the Rohingya.
But the agency said that conditions in Myanmar were “not yet conducive” for this to happen.
UNHCR also said that refugees in Bangladesh needed reassurance about their legal status, citizenship and security if they were to return to Myanmar.
Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva