Fighting has forced four million people to leave their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo making it the largest displacement crisis in Africa. It is also home to nearly 500,000 refugees from Burundi, Central Africa Republic and South Sudan. Over seven million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
The government and international community have been slow to respond to the latest crisis in the Kasai region of the country, in part because of the security situation. Most of the affected people have received no outside help, while local communities have generously taken people in and offered the modest help they can. Food prices are rising and even people not affected by the fighting in Kasai and other parts of the country are finding it hard to cope.
Three full farming seasons have been missed, leading to severe food shortages. Many families are forced to survive on just one meal a day, on a diet mainly of maize and cassava, without access to more nutritious food. While 400,000 children are reported to be severely malnourished in the Greater Kasai region, further delay in delivering aid will lead to higher levels of mortality and serious stunting.
The conflict, which broke out in previously peaceful Kasai last year, has led to an eight-fold increase in hunger. Over three million people are going hungry.
Millions still do not have access to clean water, drinking instead from unprotected water sources.
Oxfam is helping more than 400,000 people in the DRC, providing them with clean water, sanitation, cash transfers and seeds for crops.
Oxfam is providing emergency food, water and sanitation, essential household non-food items and helping to keep people safe from violence in Kasai province.
Ebola in DRC
Oxfam has helped over 200,000 people since the start of the Ebola response. The focus is both on providing physical support such as water and hand washing facilities but crucially engaging and talking to communities about the risks of Ebola and how to prevent transmission.
To date we have chlorinated hundreds of water points to make sure they are safe for consumption and put up hand washing stations at busy, communal areas. Oxfam, through talking to community leaders, -teachers, community groups, churches, schools and doing door-to-door visits, Oxfam is engaging communities about the risks of Ebola and what they can do minimise risks of transmission.
We have also begun a response to provide assistance in Kasai to those who have been forced to return to DRC from Angola.