The United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today for a two-day visit during which she will travel to two of the country’s regions most affected by conflict – the provinces of North Kivu and Orientale in the north-east.
“The situation in the DRC receives far less attention than it deserves,” said Ms. Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, on arrival in Kinshasa, the capital of the central African country.
“Millions of people in crisis areas have rarely known peace and security. The humanitarian situation is not only one of the world’s most serious, but also one of the most enduring,” she added.
The DRC is affected by multiple humanitarian crises, each with separate causes and dynamics. They include widespread poverty, low levels of development and human rights abuses and violence against civilians.
“I have come to see for myself how the situation is evolving, how we can better respond to the needs of the people, and how we can support the Government in increasing its role in the response,” said Ms. Amos.
Protection of civilians and how to ensure better access to people in need are Ms. Amos’ key priorities. She will discuss these issues with the authorities, the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) and the humanitarian community.
“Many Congolese get caught up in conflict and violence,” she said. “They are the innocent victims of ongoing hostilities between armed groups. We continue to call on these groups not to harm civilians, and to comply with international humanitarian law. People in the DRC want peace, security and stability. They want an end to the violence and conflict,” said Ms. Amos.
An estimated 1.7 million people are internally displaced in the DRC as a result of conflict, most of them with great needs. Even in areas not affected by conflict, humanitarian indicators are alarming and call for assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Global acute malnutrition among children in many non-conflict areas is above 10 per cent, and only 47 per cent of the country’s population have access to clean water.