Low funding threatens humanitarian work in DR Congo, UN warns

4 June 2010
Many of the refugees who have fled intercommunal clashes in Dongo, the DRC, are children

A funding shortfall for relief operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could lead to a major reduction in aid to hundreds of thousands of people in the African country, where conflict in some areas has displaced a large slice of the population, the United Nations warned today.

UN agencies and their non-governmental organizations (NGO) partners have requested $828 million for humanitarian projects in the DRC this year, but only $249 million – or 30 per cent – of that amount has been made available, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The available funding include $70 million carried over from 2009, an indication of how slowly new contributions have been trickling in this year.

“If resource mobilization continues at this pace, total financing for 2010 is likely to be below $500 million, or less than 60 per cent of the of requirements, with a shortfall of over $328 million,” said Fidèle Sarassoro, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for DRC.

“This would have disastrous consequences for humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable,” Mr. Sarassoro added in a press release issued jointly with the DRC Government.

Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Save the Children-United Kingdom (SC-UK) and the International Medical Corps (IMC), have already reduced several activities in the country’s east, due to lack of funding, according to OCHA.

“The humanitarian crisis in this country requires much greater engagement by donors,” said Ferdinand Kambere, DRC’s Minister for Social Affairs, Humanitarian Action and National Solidarity.

In 2009, funds received for the activities planned under Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) enabled over 1 million people to have access to clean water, almost 3 million to receive food aid, and 80 per cent of children in DRC to be vaccinated.

If the current trend of low donor funding continues, humanitarian agencies will be unable to provide clean water to 350,000 people and an estimated 200,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition may not receive assistance.


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