With 7 million children affected by the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, now is the time for the EU and its Member States to step up their support. They need to go beyond pushing for elections and instead investing in addressing the needs of one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
World Vision’s DRC Director Scott Lout said: “A massive humanitarian crisis has been unfolding in the Congo almost unnoticed. The scale and brutality of what is happening to children in hard to reach places in the DRC is almost unimaginable.”
Millions of children are now displaced by conflict, suffering extreme hunger and living in abject poverty and in fear of their lives. World Vision fears that former child soldiers will re-join armed groups and continue conflict without psycho-social support
Pauline, 15, who attends a World Vision child safe space, told World Vision staff: “I knew some girls who joined the militia. They were my age, or even younger than me. They went off to battle to kill people and drink their blood.”
“Children, who have been demobilized, freed or have fled militias, must immediately benefit from programs that protect them from further harm and improve their physical, emotional and mental health” says Jonathan Beger, World Vision Brussels’ Director of EU Advocacy. “The Brussels donor meeting has to rapidly increase funding and focus aid on children and their communities to prevent a resurgence of ethnic and tribal violence, or we lose yet another Congolese generation.”
Notes to editors
With 3.9 million people displaced nationally, DRC has the largest number of people displaced in Africa, and largest in the world after Syria. 13.1 million people across the DRC need humanitarian assistance, over half of them children.
World Vision has been delivering relief, rehabilitation and development programmes to conflict, disaster-affected and poverty-stricken populations in DRC since 1984. Currently, WV operates in 14 out of 26 provinces, with programming in protection, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, food aid, food security, peacebuilding and emergency relief reaching almost 2.5m people as direct beneficiaries in 2015.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It works in close to 100 countries in most regions of the world including Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region.
For more information or an interview, please contact Ludovic Wahis, Policy and Communications Officer, World Vision Brussels & EU Representation, +32 (0) 2 274 18 67, Ludovic_Wahis@wvi.org.