The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been the scene of many conflicts for over 20 years. As of 30 October 2017, the DRC had a total of 4.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). North Kivu remains the most affected province. But the crisis that has hit the Greater Kasai region since August 2016 alone has displaced more than 1.4 million people and plunged 3 million into food insecurity.
In this context, numerous acts of unprecedented violence – including massacres, rapes and kidnappings – have been perpetrated against civilians by all parties to the conflict. The forces involved have looted and burned down homes, weakening the socio-economic fabric and the market system. Basic services such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship have been badly damaged.
Responding to basic needs
Switzerland aims to bring immediate improvements to the living conditions of the people affected by the crisis of the provinces of Eastern Kasai and Lomami, where the humanitarian response is yet almost non-existent. By facilitating access to food, temporary shelters and essential household items for cooking, drinking and clothing, Swiss Humanitarian Aid is meeting the basic needs of those affected. This emergency aid targets 11,300 households (56,500 people).
Assistance is performed by cash distributions. Beneficiaries can use the money received with dignity, covering their basic needs according to their own preferences. The amount distributed to each household is based on the cost of the items in the targeted area and the size of the household. As these regions have been hit by high inflation in recent months and prices fluctuate dramatically, they are constantly evaluated to ensure the programme is effective. In areas where food is not available, food fairs or distributions in kind are organised.